If you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C., be sure to include a visit to one or all of the War Memorials honoring the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for our great nation.
The National Mall is an open air national park located between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol, with the Washington Monument providing a division slightly west of the center. The National Mall receives approximately 24 million visitors each year. It is lined with a number of museums, contains two entrances for underground museums and the Department of Agriculture. Several of the national war memorials are located in this area.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
A V-shaped granite wall is inscribed with the names of the 58,209 Americans missing or killed in the Vietnam War. Across the lawn is a life size bronze sculpture of three young servicemen. Registers located next to the memorial alphabetically list the names of those who died or are missing in action by panel. Families and visitors who come here often etch the name of a loved one to take home with them and many leave personal mementos in front of the panels. Mementos are collected every three weeks and stored by the National Park Service. The monument is located at Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive, NW and is open 8 am to 11:45 pm.
Women in Vietnam Memorial
This sculpture depicts three women in the military with a wounded soldier to honor the women who served in the Vietnam War. The sculpture was dedicated in 1993 as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
World War II Memorial
In 1993, Congress authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish a World War II Memorial. Selected in a national competition, the memorial was mostly funded by private donations. Construction began in September 2001 and was dedicated on May 29, 2004. Twin Atlantic and Pacific pavilions symbolize a war fought across two oceans and inscriptions at the base of the pavilion fountains mark key battles. Pillars in the form of ovals surround each pavilion and provide a roll call of the 56 U.S. States, Territories and District of Columbia which united in a common cause. The Freedom Wall’s 4,000 gold stars commemorate the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives in the war. This beautiful structure serves as a peaceful place to remember those who served our country during World War II. The memorial is located at 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues and is open 24 hours a day.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Our nation honors those who were killed, captured, wounded or remain missing in action during the Korean War (1950 -1953). Nineteen figures represent every ethnic background. The statues are supported by a granite wall with 2,400 faces of land, sea and air support troops. A Pool of Remembrance lists the names of the lost Allied Forces. The memorial is located at Daniel French Drive and Independence Avenue, SW and is open from 8 am to 11:45 pm.
Off the Mall but still nearby are two other important memorials which are easily accessible after visiting those mentioned above.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
For decades, three Presidential monuments dedicated to Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington stood along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. as a reminder of America’s past. In 1997, a fourth Presidential monument was added, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.
Unlike the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials which are compact, covered and focused on a single statue of each President, the FDR memorial is vast, uncovered and focused on numerous statues, quotes and waterfalls. The memorial incorporates works by prominent American artists and honors FDR by telling the story of the President and the country in a chronological order. Four “rooms” were created to represent the four terms served by Roosevelt.
FDR led the nation through the Great Depression and World War II and his memorial, dedicated on May 2, 1997, now stands as a reminder of some of America’s tougher times. The memorial is in West Potomac Park, between the Tidal Basin and Potomac River. The park is open every day, except December 25.
United States Navy Memorial
This memorial commemorates U. S. Naval history and honors all who served in the sea services. It is located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 7th and 9th Streets and is open 24 hours. The Naval Heritage Center, at the same location, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
The Iwo Jima Memorial
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial is also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial and contains the iconic statute of Marines raising the flag on the Pacific Island during WWII. The memorial is located in Arlington Ridge Park near the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.