Whether you're on a Washington, D.C., student tour or just paying homage to the men and women of our armed services, visiting our country's war memorials is a humbling, moving experience. Here is some info on some of the more popular memorials honoring our brave service members.
1. Arlington National cemetery and Tomb of the unknown Soldier
Arlington National Cemetery is hallowed ground and a testament to the sacrifices made by great Americans. Your student group can see numerous memorials including the Eternal Flame at JFK's gravesite, the Challenger memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown Solidier is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died and whose remains have not been identified. (It is also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns—it has never been officially named.) The tomb is guarded by soldiers of the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a sentry at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
2. The World War Two Veterans Memorial
The memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. The memorial consists of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The memorial opened to the public on April 29, 2004, and was dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.
3. The Korean Veterans War Memorial
Often thought of as the "Forgotten War," this memorial takes the form of a triangle intersecting a circle. The memorial encompasses a 2-acre site, and features 19 stainless steel statues designed by Frank Gaylord. The figures represent a squad on patrol, drawn from each branch of the armed forces. The granite mural is nearly 165 ft long and is etched with faces of over 2,400 service men and women who served in the Korean War. The memorial was dedicated in 1995 by President Bill Clinton and President Kim Young-Sam of South Korea. The memorial includes the words: "Freedom is not free."
4. The Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima)
This memorial stands outside Arlington National Cemetery and is dedicated to all the personnel of the United States Marine Corps. The memorial features a famous statue depicting the six servicemen who raised the second U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The design of the massive sculpture was based on the iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal. The granite base of the memorial has two inscriptions:
- In Honor And Memory Of The Men Of The United States Marine Corps Who Have Given Their Lives To Their Country Since 10 November 1775
- "Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue," Admiral Chester Nimitz
5. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the U.S. service members of the U.S. Military who fought in the Vietnam War. The memorial consists of three separate parts: the Three Soldiers Statue, The Vietnam Women's Memorial, and The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The Memorial was designed by American architect Maya Lin, and has over 58,000 names engraved into the memorial wall. The Women's Memorial is dedicated to the women, mostly nurses, who served in the war, and serves as a reminder of the importance of women in the conflict.
6. USS Arizona Memorial (Hawaii)
The USS Arizona Memorial, is located at Pearl Harbor to mark the resting place of 1,102 or the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941 when attacked by the Japanese Imperial Forces. Built in 1962, the memorial is visited by more than one million people annually. Accessible only by boat it straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it. There are three main parts of the memorial entry, assembly room, and shrine. The Shrine at the far end bears the names of all those killed on the Arizona.