In 1931, Cass Gilbert’s third and last sketch of the approach to the Capitol Building featured a tall spire reflecting Gilbert’s vision and desire that there be a memorial tribute to veterans at the far south end of the Capitol Mall. After WWII, a decision was made to honor veterans with a building to provide necessary military veteran services, that now also provides a visual backdrop at the south end of the Capitol Mall. It is there that there is another circle of memorials and tributes to military veterans and wars, not unlike the circle of monuments that surround in close proximity the Capital Building. Also since WWII, a Court of Honor tribute to veterans has been added forming a circular area on the mall north of the Veteran Services Building with most recently a WWII War Memorial in the middle of that area. Also more recently and either side of the Court of Honor a Vietnam and Korean Memorial and a Military Family Tribute have been added.
Shortly after WWII a reflecting pool and a statute within the pool monument was built immediately north of the Veteran Services Building that is referred to as the Promise of Youth. The monument has not generally been understood and has been discredited for not being relevant to veteran recognition or issues. Additionally, the Promise of Youth monument does not and has not functioned as intended as a reflecting pool nor does the mechanical statute operate.
The proposed Medal of Honor Memorial would occupy and be confined to the footprint of the existing reflecting pool and again function as originally intended as a functioning reflecting pool and operating mechanical statute along with being a Medal of Honor Memorial. A Medal of Honor Memorial within the footprint of the Promise of Youth reflecting pool would clearly and meaningfully convey the intended function of the Promise of Youth element that veterans in securing and maintaining our rights and freedoms have provided our youth with the means to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of all Americans.
A Medal of Honor Memorial located at the south end of the mall and visibly in full view from the Capital Building would appropriately honor the most admired and respected of all of our veterans. The honorable service and sacrifice of the individual Minnesota veteran would also be reflective in varying degrees of the character attributes and actions of the Medal of Honor recipients and all recipients of medals of valor.