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American Forces Press Service News Article

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, 
semicircular facade.
	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 
our bounds."
	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 
Special Services.
	For information on the memorial, call (800) 222-2294 or 
write to:
	The Women's Memorial
	Department 560
	Washington, D.C. 20042-0560.

image. 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

image 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 America photo

image 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

image Arthur Urbanski installs one of the many reflecting glass panels atop the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA

Updated: 14 Jan 2003
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