Martinez joins group honoring veterans

Susana Martinez

A North Carolina-based group organizing and raising money to build a national memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor those who fought in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the war on terror has appointed former New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to its advisory board.

The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation is the congressionally designated nonprofit organization behind the effort to build the memorial on the National Mall. According to the group’s website, it’s in “the early stages of designing what the memorial will say as well as what it potentially could look like.”

Foundation President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez is a former Green Beret who says his hometown is Las Cruces, where Martinez served as district attorney before becoming governor.

“Through her close relationship with the men and women of the New Mexico National Guard and her experience as a Blue Star Mother, she knows the importance of honoring those who have served and continue to serve every day,” Rodriguez said in a news release on Martinez’s appointment.

Martinez’s stepson is a Navy veteran.

In the news release, Martinez said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to support an effort to honor all who have served in uniform as well as the many men and women who serve in roles supporting our nation’s military. It is not just about the sacrifice made by those who serve, but also the sacrifice made by their families, communities and those who care about them.”

Former President George W. Bush is the honorary chairman of the foundation.

The advisory board is made up mostly of military veterans, including former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace, a retired Marine general. Also on the board is Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which organized the effort to build that memorial on the National Mall.

In 2017, Congress passed, without a dissenting vote, the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act, which exempts the terrorism memorial from the 10-year waiting period required by the Commemorative Works Act of 1986. It authorized the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation to oversee the fundraising, design and construction of the memorial.