National World War II Memorial

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17th Street & Independence Avenue NW., Washington, DC, USA - (202) 619-7222

National World War II Memorial Washington Reviews

WalterC WalterC
389 reviews
Definitely worth visiting Jul 15, 2016
Located on the other side of the Reflecting Pool, and across the street from the area where the Washington Monument is, the National World War II Memorial honors the people that served in World War II.

Dedicated in 2004, this memorial has a main fountain in the middle of it, surrounded by pillars that are represented by each US state and territory. And there are 2 arches on the northern and southern side of the memorial. One of them is the Atlantic side, with the list of battles around the small fountain there, that took place in Europe. The other side being the Pacific side, for the battles in Asia.

One of the most notable features is the Freedom Wall, with its 4048 gold stars, with each star representing 1000 American lives that were lost in the war. And the quote can pretty much sum up this place, which is “Here we mark the price of freedom”.

And as you go to or from the Washington Monument side, there is a series of bronze reliefs on each side. One side is the Atlantic side, while the other being the Pacific side. These reliefs show various moments of the war, and worth checking out for those who are World War II buffs.

This has quite a lot to see, as there are more to see than I mentioned here. And while it can be a good place to relax and people-watch, as I did see kids really enjoying themselves as they were running around, it should not be forgotten that major sacrifices made in World War II.

Needless to say, this place should not be missed!
view of memorial, looking east
view of Central Fountain
view of memorial with Washington M…
eagles holding wreath inside arch
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic spocklog…
325 reviews
The Price of Freedom (1941-1945) Aug 13, 2015
This memorial honors the men and women who served and died in World War II. This area used to be the Rainbow Pool on the east side of the Reflecting Pool until it was made part of the WWII memorial which was built around it and dedicated in 2004. It actually took legislation from the U.S. Congress in 2001 to make this happen. It's a fine example of using an existing structure to build around and incorporate a memorial into. The result is something on a grand scale befitting the major conflict of the 20th century to commemorate the price of freedom.

The memorial has two large arched pillars on either end, each 43 feet (13.1 m) tall, representing the Atlantic and Pacific battle fronts the US fought the war on, so-called 'theaters of war'. Fanning out from the arched pillars in a semicircle are a series of smaller pillars, leaving open space between the Washington Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. There are 56 of these smaller pillars, each 17 feet (5.18 m) tall and they are each inscribed with the name one of the 48 states existing during the war, and including the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory, Territory of Hawaii, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, to make 56 total.

There is a Freedom Wall too containing over 4000 gold stars, one for each 100 American service men and women who died or remain missing from World War II. In America, this is second only to the Civil War where more than 600,000 lost their lives. Below the stars an inscription reads, "Here we mark the price of freedom." Also look for the "Kilroy Was Here" engravings in the monument and there are two of them somewhat hidden. This was a popular graffiti during WW II and appeared almost everywhere soldiers went and one of the iconic symbols of the times. Someone had mischievous sensibility to include such a thing and to keep secret about it.

Here's a hint: "There's a small, walled-off service area at the back of the memorial (Lincoln Memorial side) where the ground is made of metal grating. If you scan the back wall of the memorial near there, you'll find what you're looking for."

I understand that this is referring to the golden gates on the outside wall toward the Lincoln Memorial. One is behind the golden gate next to the Pennsylvania pillar and the other next to the Delaware pillar.

Anyway, a fair number of people hate this memorial and think it is ugly and disturbs the view of the mall. I think is marks a nice centerpiece to the National Mall and belongs right there to honor what has been termed "The Greatest Generation". They sacrificed much abroad and at home to fight evil adversaries and help secure the freedom we all enjoy and should have.

Bill (Zagnut66) has written a nice review too and be sure to check out his narrative. Otherwise here's a link to a FAQ by the National Park Service if you are more curious about the memorial or the symbolism -
World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
EmEm says:
Posted on: Sep 20, 2015
WandererMan says:
Congrats on your featured review!.
Posted on: Sep 18, 2015
Cho says:
I have done a lot of research on WWII so was quite interested to read your review, and I'm glad it was featured here. Congratulations!
Posted on: Sep 18, 2015
Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
National World War II Memorial Nov 13, 2012
There was a lot of haggling over this memorial during its planning stages in the 1990s. A major objection was the feared disruption of the uninterrupted sightline between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument on the National Mall. The unimpeded sightline still exists due to the open nature of the finished memorial. If anything, it appears as if it is too sprawled out when seen from a distance, lacking any distinctive look or cohesiveness as per the other DC monuments. The FDR Memorial is also sprawled out, but it sits off in a separate area where it doesn't have to compete with the iconic structures on the Mall. That said, the World War II Memorial does nicely come together up close.

Several critics argue the finished design with its rows of marble columns, multiple fountains, oversized wreaths, and giant patriotic eagles is strangely evocative of the architecture of the fascist regimes the Allies fought against, in a sense actually working against the democratic ideals the Allies represented. My own view is that the memorial tries to depict the war as something monumental and epic, in contrast to the nearby Korean and Vietnam Memorials that emphasize the hardships and loss of life in conflicts that were far more controversial than American entry into WW II.

There are narrative bronze panels along the side walls leading to the memorial proper that attempt to show the rigors of war, but they are subsumed within the sheer grandeur of the marble columns. The Freedom Wall has 4,048 gold stars that each represent 100 Americans who died in the war. Yet the stars are too abstract to have the same visceral impact of the individual names on the Vietnam Memorial wall (which is odd considering that the Vietnam Memorial as a whole is far more abstract than its WW II counterpart). I doubt many visitors are aware of or even care about these criticisms, though they are worth considering when taking it in.

A quick note: the photos posted here were taken on different days, hence the sudden shifts from cloudy to sunny backdrops.
The World War II Memorial seen fro…
The central fountain
Medallion under the Pacific Arch
A partially empty Reflecting Pool
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic says:
Thought provoking perspective, Bill! It is interesting how the different war memorials are viewed. Just as an aside, I wonder if a WW I memorial will ever get off the ground. There have been attempts to turn the "District of Columbia War Memorial" into one without success. Probably should have its own somewhere, sometime...
Posted on: Sep 16, 2015
Africancrab Africanc…
777 reviews
Honoring those who served during World War II Jun 27, 2012
The World War II Memorial is a more recent memorial built during the George W Bush administration to honor those who served during the WWII including the families and people who supported them from home. It features 2 43 foot arches and a 17 foot pillar for every state of the union and territory plus a field of 400,000 gold stars, a tribute to those who died.

We arrived pretty early having left the residence at 6:00 am. There were few people and it was quite cool. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and a few couples. A large ring of water fountains lies in the middle of the memorial, and lights up at night for a visual inspiration. A series of bronze sculpture panels on the north and south side depict Americans at war, overseas and at home.

It is located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. It is definitely a treat to see it at night. Highly recommended.
camwilde camwilde
163 reviews
World War II Memorial Dec 03, 2010
The World War II Memorial is found on the National Mall and commemorates those who fought in World War II and ultimately obtained victory. It has a fountain and plaza surrounded by 56 pillars and 2 arches for triumph.

I was able to use this memorial to teach my daughter about the sadness of war. There are 4,048 stars, each representing 100 dead Americans and we talked about them. Each pillar represents a state, territory, or commonwealth of the United States that existed during WWII. We went and found our state (Oregon).

All in all, it is a good memorial.
Walking around the fountain
Victory Arches
Finding our state among the pillars
Walking up to the memorial

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