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On eve of Veterans Day, work begins on new memorial

by Jorge Hernandez on November 11, 2010

Originally recognized to commemorate the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, Veterans Day has evolved over the last 81 years to remember all veterans who have bravely served the United States.

In the time leading up to the day this year, one New Jersey resident is doing her part to help pay homage to a certain group of veterans who have not yet received the recognition they deserve. Over the last 15 years, Lois Pope has led the charge to help create a monument honoring disabled veterans, and on Wednesday she oversaw the ceremonial groundbreaking of American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., The Star-Ledger reports.

"I guess there was a sense no one saw the need for such a monument, but we do – we do need a physical statement for others to see," Godron Mansfield, a Vietnam vet, told the news source. "The wives and mothers and children and grandchildren need to see that we as a country recognize the suffering of these people."

Pope has been the leading fundraiser for the project, but she is also responsible for enlisting the help of many well-known supporters. In addition to getting Senator John McCain to co-sponsor its authorization in the Senate, she was able to have actor Gary Sinise – who played the disabled Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump – to be the official spokesperson for the cause.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama honored the military while overseas in South Korea. Obama addressed U.S. troops in the South Korean capital of Seoul on Thursday and paid tribute to the servicemen who fought in the country more than half a century ago, while stressing the importance of the country's continued support of South Korea.

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