On August 15, 2016, HGA’s design submission for the Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial at the State Capitol Mall was selected from a group of three entrants by a jury of design professionals, Veterans, Legislators and Medal of Honor Memorial committee members.

Cass Gilbert’s vision for a prominent memorial at the main entrance to the Capitol grounds will be strengthened with the addition of the Medal of Honor Memorial. Presently the Promise of Youth reflecting pool occupies the site that is to be repurposed into the Medal of Honor Memorial. The Medal of Honor Memorial will be incorporated within the footprint of the existing Promise of Youth reflecting pool while retaining the Promise of Youth statue. Accordingly, the Medal of Honor Memorial will complement, enhance, and increase the understanding, meaning, and intended significance of the Promise of Youth monument as well as providing the most prominent and appropriate location for both memorials.

Medal of Honor recipients have a history of involvement in all our Nation’s wars. The Medal of Honor memorial will symbolically occupy an elevated and centralized location and make a needed and meaningful connection to the service and sacrifice of Minnesota’s Medal of Honor recipients and to the adjacent war memorials and tributes. The memorial will provide a personalized experience in educating and inspiring our youth to the character and sacrifice that has been necessary to maintain our peace, freedoms, and our very way of life. It is our youth, who having been given the means, must assume the responsibility to sustain and advance our cultural and societal aspirations.

No other function or use of the Medal of Honor Memorial site would effectively serve the historic vision and make the meaningful connection with the unanticipated wars that have occurred and the memorials and tributes on the Capitol grounds. The Medal of Honor Memorial ties all the war memorials and tributes to the hopes and expectations for our youth as well as the challenges our youth have now and will have in the future.

The broader objectives of the commemorative works on the Capitol Mall and grounds are realized in understanding the remarkable common bonds yet diverse cultural, economic, educational, and geographic ties that Medal of Honor recipients and Minnesota military veterans will always have with our youth.
In addition, the proposed Memorial will fulfill two broader objectives for commemorative works on the Capitol Mall:

  • To preserve and honor the values held in common by the diverse people of Minnesota, and
  • To inform and enrich its urban context with an added meaning and significance.

The state of Minnesota proudly hosted the 2016, Medal of Honor Convention. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society holds the Medal of Honor Convention annually to remember and respect those who have received the Medal of Honor posthumously, strengthen the bond between the living recipients, foster patriotism amongst youth and award Americans who have lived out the founding principles of the United States throughout their life’s work. The convention is designed to both honor those who have served their country and inspire the next generation of Americans to have success in school and in life.

The main platform of the convention is the Character Development Program which is drawn from the personal accounts of living Medal of Honor recipients, the program presents “living histories” that encourage students to consider each concept from their own perspective. The character of these recipients is the focus of each story. The lives of these Medal of Honor recipients exemplify many of the abstract principles upon which our nation was founded in a way that makes those principles very real.

  • Courage: We embrace the indomitable courage demonstrated by the recipients of America’s highest military honor for valor as an ideal that should endure in all ways of life.
  • Sacrifice: We support sacrifice and service above self as principles that all Americans should strive for as citizens of a free and prosperous nation.
  • Patriotism: We promote love of country and are committed to support and defend the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
  • Citizenship: We believe that America’s destiny lies in its youth and are committed to helping them become worthy citizens of our country in the belief that ordinary Americans have the potential to challenge fate and change the course of history.
  • Integrity: We believe that the mark of a true hero is to have the moral courage to do what needs to be done.
  • Commitment: We steadfastly support the valiant men and women who serve their country in the same spirit of commitment, sacrifice and selflessness as those who proceeded them.

HGA team:
Michael Bjornberg, FAIA
Theodore Lee, ASLA
Glenn Waguespack, AIA
Emanouil Spassov, ASLA
Xiye Mou
Yaozhu Wang
Nicolas Ramirez
Mark McDonald
Erika Eklund

In conjunction with the National Medal of Honor Convention held in the Twin Cities on October 4-8, 2016 a groundbreaking ceremony took place on the grounds of the State Capital on October 3. The ceremony featured military, state and local dignitaries, distinguished groups and organizations, and a military flyover.


If you have questions about the project, please feel free to contact Theodore Lee:

Associate Vice President
Department Leader - Landscape Architecture
HGA Architects and Engineers 
420 North 5th Street, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401 
Direct 612.758.4306 | Fax 612.758.9306 
Cellular 612.990.3962