Women's Memorial Reaches Halfway Point
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON -- Construction of the Women in Military Service
to America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., has
passed the halfway point, the builders said recently.
Thanks to a moderate winter, officials with Lehrer McGovern
and Bovis, Inc., said, the construction remains on schedule.
Michelle Stuckey, a spokeswoman with the construction
consulting firm, said if the weather holds, they should complete
construction and landscaping work this summer. That would give
officials of the the memorial foundation about three months to
furnish offices, set up museum displays and prepare for
dedication ceremonies now set for Oct. 18.
The women's memorial project converts Arlington National
Cemetery's 75-year-old main entrance gate into a shrine honoring
the nation's 1.8 million service women and veterans. Designed by
Weiss-Manfredi Architects of New York, the memorial will house a
museum, 196-seat auditorium, a Hall of Honor and an education
center on women's military history. It will also house a
computerized military women's registry, created to allow military
women to showcase their contributions to military service.
Although the memorial's groundbreaking occurred in June
1995, construction did not begin until January 1996. Since then,
construction workers have excavated nearly 3,500 truckloads of
soil from behind the gate and built the walls that will house the
Workers will place nearly 250 tons of Colorado Yule marble,
which will cover 12,000 square feet of walls inside the memorial.
The memorial's observation deck is also near completion.
Partially built stairwells lead from the roof to just above the
museum's main chamber. Contractors are also mounting frames that
will eventually hold large etched glass panels. These panels will
contain engraved quotations by or about famous military women.
Sunlight will shine through those panels and reflect the
quotations onto the marble walls inside.
Stuckey said the memorial's front wall restoration will
occur after they complete most of the inside construction. She
said the process will include sandblasting the gate's old,
Besides the gate renovation, the next nine months will see
construction of the memorial's fountain, plaza and reflecting
pool. Four new stairwells will pass through the museum to the
memorial's roof and provide visitors with a view of the cemetery,
the Lincoln Memorial and the glass tablets.
The construction site is close to cemetery burial areas.
"One of the major concerns was that we didn't disturb any grave
sites," said Stuckey, "We were very careful that we stayed within
While construction continues, foundation officials are still
campaigning to open the museum debt-free. Spokeswoman Molly
Whalen said the foundation still needs to raise about $6 million
-- money needed to cover the costs of furnishing the museum and
equipping the memorial's education center.
Commemorative coin sales, a federal restoration grant and
donations from foreign governments, civic groups and corporate
sponsors are paying most of the costs. The foundation hopes to
continue earning corporate funds and raising money through
individual and group donations.
The foundation is also looking to register more service
women into the museum's computerized memorial register. The data
base will contain names, photos and brief biographical sketches
of women who served in the armed forces, uniformed Public Health
Service members and those in service auxiliaries.
It was also include a section on "They Also Served,"
honoring women in the Red Cross, United Services Organization and
For information on the memorial, call (800) 222-2294 or
The Women's Memorial
Washington, D.C. 20042-0560.
. Construction continues in front and behind the
walls of the Arlington National Cemetery hemicycle wall -- site
of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The wall's
restoration will not begin until builders complete most of the
memorial's interior. Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial,
scheduled for dedication Oct. 18, 1997, will house an education
center, a 196-seat theater, computer registration area, exhibit
gallery and a Hall of Honor. Women in Military Service for
Construction workers build the Women in Military
Service for America Memorial at the front gate of Arlington
National Cemetery, Va. The glass panels above the main corridor
will reflect etchings of quotations about military women onto the
museums marble walls. Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
Arthur Urbanski installs one of the many reflecting
glass panels atop the Women in Military Service for America
Memorial. Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA