Located directly across the Reflecting Pool from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated to honor the thousands of Americans who served in the Korean conflict to try and keep Communist North Korea from overtaking South Korea. What was envisioned as a short, decisive repelling of the enemy became a prolonged, bitter, and frustrating fight that threatened to explode beyond Korean borders. The fighting raged for three years, killing over four million people. A settlement re-established the earlier boundaries of North and South, returning the region to an uneasy peace.
The 19 soldiers are arranged around strips of granite and scrubby juniper bushes to suggest the rice paddies of Korea, while windblown ponchos recall the harsh weather they endured. This symbolic patrol brings together members of the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, and portrays servicemen from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. When seen reflected on the wall, there appear to be 38 men on patrol, representing the 38th parallel that divided Korea.
- The Korean Memorial is the first stainless steel memorial ever erected in D.C.
- To make the 164-foot-long wall, a computer-generated stencil guided the sandblasting that carved the images in stone.