Virginia War Memorial new wing to focus on War on Terror - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Virginia War Memorial new wing to focus on War on Terror

Richard McNulty III Richard McNulty III

An emotional new memorial in Richmond will honor Virginia servicemen and women killed in the War on Terror. The Virginia War Memorial is planning a $17 million expansion to include a new shrine of memory.

If you look around the walls at the memorial, you see the names of Virginians killed in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. This new addition will include, for the first time, those who have given their lives in an ongoing conflict.

"I don't think it really sinks in until you go to Dover and you know that's your son," Deborah Leach, whose son was killed while on a mission, recalled.

Wednesday would have been Richard McNulty III's third wedding anniversary. His wife will share it with the daughter he never got the chance to meet. McNulty's mother, Deborah Leach, will spend it, as she does every single day, reflecting on the moment her world was shattered by a phone call. It happened on Mother's Day of last year.

"He said ‘Mom I have to tell you something,'" she described. "And he said ‘Rick was killed in Afghanistan today.'"

PFC Richard McNulty III was stationed in Afghanistan. The 22-year-old was killed when the vehicle he was driving hit an IED. Leach says the thought of a specific memorial honoring soldiers who, like her son, made the ultimate sacrifice, warms her heart.

"I think he'd be very proud to know that the state cares so much about him," she believes.

The new addition will almost double the size of the site in Richmond. Plans include the memorial, a lecture hall, new gallery and classroom.

"If we knew how long this war was going we might wait," Virginia War Memorial Executive Director Jon Hatfield explained. "But we think it is important that Virginians honor those heroes that gave their lives so that you and I can live free."

Leach says that honor helps keep her son alive for those left behind, like her young granddaughter.

"It's another place that she can come and she can go see her dad," she added.

Construction is expected to begin in late summer with an anticipated completion in 2015.

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