The National World War II Memorial

The Rainbow Pool

The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people. The Second World War is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis.

Nat’l WWII Memorial Website

I can’t believe I haven’t put this one up…so, here it is.  One of my favorite spots on the Mall is this place – The World War II Memorial.  It was one of the first things on my list to see when we got there this summer.  I think I went down on the first evening to try and get some shots.  It was so busy since it was still the weekend (Sunday) and the 4th of July was the next day.  I don’t think I came away with much because there were so many people, so I made the 2 mile trek from our hotel to the Memorial later in the week; Wednesday or Thursday evening when the crowds weren’t as large.

There are 56 granite pillars standing 17 feet tall that form a semi-circle around the fountain plaza with 2 arches on opposite sides.  The pillars, connected by bronze sculpted rope, represent the unity of the nation during the war and have inscriptions of one of the 48 states of 1945.  The remaining 8 include: the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and Territory of Hawaii, the Philippines,  the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and America Samoa.  The arches represent the wars fought on the Atlantic (north arch) and Pacific (south arch) Theaters and have inscriptions representative of such.  On the floor under the Pacific Arch is the WWII Victory Medal as seen below and is surrounded with more inscriptions of the years 1941-1945 and the words Victory on Land, Victory at Sea, and Victory in the Air.  Between the arches, on the western side of the plaza nearest the Reflecting Pool, is the Freedom Wall; directly behind the large fountain in the first picture.  The wall displays 4,048 gold stars, each representing approximately 100 American soldiers that were killed in battle…if you need help with the math, it’s 404,800.

WWII Victory Medal

There are several more engravings around the memorial taken from speeches and such…there’s even an engraving of the famous Kilroy was Here ‘graffiti’…I didn’t happen to get a photo of that because I didn’t know about it until after leaving D.C.  However, I do have a quote from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz…

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