In 1989, four architects from Pennsylvania State University won the design contest for the Korean War Veterans Memorial, but this team of architects withdrew their design when they realized that going through the bureaucracy of organizations like the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts would mean drastic changes to their concept. They sued to stop their design from being altered but lost.
Three years later, the National Capital Planning Commission was working hard to scale down the size of the Memorial. The original plan called for 38 soldiers, the current plan called for 19, the NCPC, with Glen Urquhart at the helm, wanted a task force to “further reduce the number of sculptural figures,” so as not to interfere with the “West Potomac Park pastoral setting.”
Urquhart called the reduction in size of the Korean War Veterans Memorial “the reality of the approval process.” The NCPC wanted the memorial to be “squad sized” but the NCPC wasn’t even sure what the size of a squad was.
Senator John Glenn, a Korean War Veteran, commented that, “the war lasted only 37 months and this memorial project has taken over five years.”
The NCPCs downsizing was rejected, the groundbreaking was in 1992, and finally, in 1995, the memorial was dedicated by President Bill Clinton. Six months after the dedication, the monument was falling into disrepair.
Glen Urquhart served as the Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission from 1982-1994.
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