Obama approves US World War I memorial in Washington

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama has approved the creation of a national memorial to commemorate World War One in which more than 116,000 Americans died, the memorial's commission said on Saturday.

The site will complete the quartet of national memorials in Washington to the four great US wars of the 20th century - the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the World War I Centennial Commission said in a statement.

The new memorial will honour the 4.7 million Americans in the armed forces during the war and the millions who served in a civilian capacity "in a manner commensurate with the memorials to our veterans of the later wars of the 20th century," said commission chairman Robert Dalessandro, a retired Army colonel.

The National World War I Memorial will be created by expanding Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The 0.68ha site about a block from the White House contains a statue of General John Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during the war.

Obama approved the memorial by signing the 2015 National Defence Authorisation Act, the statement said. Congress approved the legislation last week.

The law also designates the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, as the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

The commission said it would sponsor a privately funded design competition for the memorial. It hopes to dedicate it by Nov 11, 2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

The war began in July 1914 and killed 16 million combatants and civilians. The United States entered the war in April 1917 and more Americans died in the conflict than in Korea and Vietnam combined.