NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two widows are pushing for change after America’s longest war.
Their husbands, deployed from Ft. Campbell, gave the ultimate sacrifice and now, these Gold Star wives say they deserve to be recognized at the National Mall.
On Thursday, a bill that would establish a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall was struck down, and now, two local women are mad.
“I lost my husband in Afghanistan, and this is a war we knew we were never going to win,” said Seana Arrechaga who lost her husband to the war in 2011.
Since the 9/11 attacks, more than 7,000 members of the U.S military have given their lives in defense of our nation, including Specialist Anthony Vargas and Sgt. First Class Ofren Arrechaga — both soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division.
“It’s not what I chose, especially when the big moments come. My son graduated in 2020 and his dad wasn’t there, that’s hard you know,” Luisa Vargas said, adding it’s hard too, knowing her late husband and so many others are not going to be honored the way they should — with a memorial at the National Mall.
“What matters is honoring these men and women who sacrificed,” Vargas said. “Anything else, it’s not about politics, it’s not about money.”
In 2017, then-President Donald Trump signed into law “The Global War on Terror Memorial Act,” authorizing a new privately funded memorial in Washington D.C but did not specifically designate where and when it would be built.
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act would authorize the memorial to be built, despite a 2003 law that prohibits new memorials from being built on the National Mall.
Some argue it opens the door for everyone and anyone to have a memorial at the National Mall.
The bill was recently struck down, meaning the memorial remains in limbo, but these Army wives aren’t giving up.
“Our families deserve this. Husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, they deserve this. There’s no reason not to, and we’re not going to go down without a fight,” Vargas said.