President Barack Obama spoke at the Oct. 5 dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., a monument consisting of three oversized decorative glass walls. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and actor Gary Sinise also spoke at the dedication for the memorial, which was more than 15 years in the making.
The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial pays tribute to disabled veterans both living and deceased across all conflicts throughout the nation’s history. The design of the memorial, by the acclaimed firm Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, envisions a hallowed place amid the bustle of the surrounding Washington streets. Vergason’s design was meant expressly for its audience – disabled veterans, their loved ones, friends and caretakers – who will now have a place for commemoration and quiet reflection, according to a release from Hartung Glass Industries, one of the glass fabricators for the project.
The memorial features 48 laminated and etched glass panels that display the soldiers' stories through quotations and photographs. The glass forms three interpretive walls. Hartung Glass Industries cut, polished and tempered each glass sheet of a ¾-inch thick, ultra-clear Starphire Glass by PPG Industries.
Glass Strategies Inc. laminated the glass panels, allowing the memorial to withstand hurricane-force windows. With five layers of glass, plus four layers of lamination, the total weight of each glass panel is approximately 1,800 pounds, according to Hartung officials.
Moon Shadow Glass Inc. completed the etching. Some of the etchings appear on the outside surfaces of the panels, allowing visitors to touch and feel the indentations, which are 1/16-inch deep. “The majority of the etching is on the interior side, where the words and images aren't exposed to the elements,” said Kris Iverson, Moon Shadow's marketing and creative director. “The interior etching also provides a subtle sense of depth for the artwork.”