Local veterans, designer help push for national Desert Storm war memorial

KOKOMO, Ind. – A group of veterans is trying to build support for a National Desert Storm War Memorial.

Tuesday, marked the 27th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, the combat phase of the Gulf War following Operation Desert Shield.

Many veterans of the war believe the short war is a blip on Americans' radars.

“We got in and we got out,” said Kent Shively, the vice chair of design for the National Desert Storm War Memorial board. “That allows people to think, well maybe this wasn’t quite significant.”

Although it only lasted 100 hours, hundreds more in our military died and these veterans want to see them honored for their sacrifice.

“We’re basically the new Korea,” said Desert Storm veteran Jim Profitt. “We’re the forgotten war.”

There were a number of empty chairs at the awareness meeting Tuesday night at Kokomo’s Public Library’s south branch. Proffit believes they prove his point about the Gulf War.

“I would hope that the curiosity would get them into the seats,” said Profitt.

Proffit hoped more people would wonder why there’s no memorial for Desert Storm veterans and feel the urge to help support them.

Perhaps Tuesday night, people again did forget about one of America’s wars. But with a national board closer to building this memorial, these veterans need Americans to care.

“We had over 300 people that died,” said Profitt. “For me, that’s one of the main reasons for the memorial is those people can be remembered.”

Indianapolis native R. Randall Schumacher made the early designs for the memorial in 2012.

Since then, bureaucracy has slowed down the process to complete the structure.

“Working with the agencies in Washington DC is a little challenging,” said Schumacher. “You have to work on their schedule. We’ve been really immersed in a pretty lengthy, site-selection process.

Despite the red tape rat race, the board is now halfway there and almost has a site. In months, they should know if they can build just steps away from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Once they’re approved though, they’ll need money to start pouring in.

“The US government will not pay for any of this memorial,” said Schumacher. “So we will be looking at everyone from the veterans themselves, you know, US citizens, to the country of Kuwait.”

They want the memorial up in three years to honor Desert Storm veterans on the 30thanniversary of the operation’s start.

“I’m not so sure how it’s going to affect me and my brothers and sisters who served over there, once we go to this one,” said Profitt. “This is like anything else in history. We can’t forget it.”