Located at the end of the Reflecting Pool opposite the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial is the first memorial dedicated to those who served our country during the Second World War. Established by the American Battle Monuments Commission, the memorial will “honor all military veterans of the war, citizens on the home front, the nation at large, and the high moral purpose and idealism that motivated the nation’s call to arms.” The memorial consists of a plaza and rainbow pool flanked by two Memorial Arches, one marked Pacific and one marked Atlantic. Circling the plaza are 56 granite pillars – one for each of the states, territories, and the District of Columbia – connected by a bronze sculpted rope celebrating the unity of the nation.
- On the floor of the Memorial Arches is the WWII victory medal surrounded by the years “1941-1945” and the words “Victory on Land,” “Victory at Sea,” and “Victory in the Air.”
- The field of 4,000 sculpted gold stars on the Freedom Wall commemorates the more than 400,000 Americans who gave their lives during the war.
- The memorial’s chairman is Senator Bob Dole, and several celebrities helped raise funds for the memorial’s construction, including actor Tom Hanks and television news anchor Tom Brokaw.