In May of 2015, the World War I Centennial Commission launched an open, two-stage international design competition to redevelop Pershing Park as a national World War I memorial.
The primary objective of the competition was to design a memorial that would take its rightful place next to the national memorials to the other wars of the 20th century. The Commission sought a memorial that would convey the significance of World War I in national and world history, as well as the character of American service in the war and the scale of American sacrifice. At the same time, the design would have to meet the challenge of transforming Pershing Park from a park that had a small memorial as a secondary feature to a national war memorial situated within a well-functioning urban park, while at the same time preserving (and restoring) the principal elements of an existing park design that has been cited as a significant work of a prominent American landscape architect.
Of the more than 350 entries received, five were chosen to advance to a second stage by an independent jury of experts in landscape architecture, planning, architecture and history. In January of 2016 the design concept submitted by architect Joseph Weishaar, GWWO Architects, Inc. and sculptor Sabin Howard was unanimously selected by the jury and recommended to the World War I Centennial Commission.