Re­mem­ber Desert Storm

A memo­rial for that two-part con­flict

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Desert Storm was rightly named, and re­mains one of the great if all too-soon-for­got­ten vic­to­ries of both Amer­i­can arms and Amer­i­can state­craft. At last that war is to have a mon­u­ment of its own in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, which is al­ready over­flow­ing with memo­ri­als ded­i­cated to the vet­er­ans of other con­flicts. That is, if vet­er­ans of that clas­sic con­flict like Arkansas’ own Jeff Kur­czek of Sher­wood and Brenten Byrd of Elm Springs have their way, and there’s lit­tle doubt in the minds of those who watched that con­flict un­fold that they will. Just as they had their way in the un­for­giv­ing sands of Kuwait back in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary of 1991.

Messrs. Kur­czek and Byrd serve on the board of the Na­tional Desert Storm War Memo­rial As­so­ci­a­tion and, while ama­teurs at fund-rais­ing, their learn­ing curve is as sharp as ever. No, they don’t have any big-name celebri­ties or cer­ti­fi­able bil­lion­aires aboard yet, but they may have some­thing bet­ter: the sup­port of Arkansas’ se­na­tors John Booz­man and Tom Cot­ton. And that’s not to men­tion some 700,000 other Amer­i­cans who were de­ployed for that two-part war, op­er­a­tions Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Of that num­ber, 383 died in the line of duty, and, of those, four Arkansans died. “We were just amazed back in 2010,” says Brenten Byrd, “that they hadn’t started a memo­rial for the Desert Storm vet­er­ans who lost their lives.” So they started one.

“It is a lot of work and at times it’s chal­leng­ing,” says Jeff Kur­czek.

“They told us at the very be­gin­ning it would take a min­i­mum of . . . 8 to 10 years” to set up the fund-rais­ing project, “and that’s a fast track. There’s a 24-step process to get a memo­rial built in Wash­ing­ton . . . We are at, I be­lieve, around 11 or 12,” said Byrd.

Never un­der­es­ti­mate the Amer­i­can fight­ing man or woman. That’s a les­son Sad­dam Hus­sein had to learn the hard way.

Be­sides, these vets have an­other one named Tom Cot­ton on their side, and he can wax elo­quent on this sub­ject: “For ev­ery man and woman who fought in that war, that’s the big­gest war in their life. For the man or woman who was in that fight, it’s their Nor­mandy and it’s their Get­tys­burg and I think they de­serve to be hon­ored with an ap­pro­pri­ate memo­rial.”

As surely they will be. For there’s no stop­ping vet­er­ans like these — whether in a for­eign war or, later, right here at home.

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