Washington, D.C. - Landmarks and Points of Interest

Washington, D.C. - Landmarks and Points of Interest


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Vietnam Women’s Memorial
(East of Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 21st St. and Constitution Ave., NW; Dedicated: 1993; Architect: Glenna Goodacre)
When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened in 1982, the women who served in the conflict felt slighted by their virtual exclusion from the design. In 1984, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was founded so that a tribute to the servicewomen and field hospital nurses could complement the new memorial. The Women’s Memorial was dedicated on Veteran’s Day 1993.

Paralleling the Three Servicemen statue at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the memorial depicts three field-hospital nurses caring for wounded soldiers. Eight yellowwood trees surround the statue in tribute to the eight women who were killed in action during the war.

Korean War Veterans Memorial
(West Potomac Park, Independence Ave., beside the Lincoln Memorial; Dedicated: 1995; Architect: Cooper & Lecky; Sculptors: Frank Gaylord and Louis Nelson)
Dedicated in 1995 on the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, the Korean War Veterans Memorial features a polished wall engraved with the faces of soldiers, nurses, chaplains and even a dog, honoring those who served. A bronze sculpture group of platoon soldiers inching through a field forms the focal point of the memorial.

After feeling slighted by the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the momentum to erect a World War II Memorial, veterans formed the Korean War Veterans Association in 1985. The site was selected and approved in 1986, but construction was delayed following a controversy over the chosen design.

Sculptor Frank Gaylord created the 19 statues of the soldiers, whose moving, weary expressions reflect the harsh circumstances of the war. The polished granite wall reflects the images of the soldiers and doubles the platoon’s size to 38— a metaphor for the 38th parallel, the border between North and South Korea.

African-American Civil War Memorial
(13th and U Sts., NW; Dedicated: 1998; Architect: Devereaux & Purnell; Sculptor: Ed Hamilton; Designer: Edward D. Dunson)
One of Washington, D.C.’s most historic African-American neighborhoods is home to one of the nation’s few tributes to the African-American veterans of the Civil War. The memorial includes a granite-paved plaza encircled by walls that bear the names of the 209,145 men who served in the United States Troops of Color during the war. At the center of the plaza, a ten-foot statue bears the likenesses of uniformed black soldiers and a sailor ready to leave home. Women, children and senior citizens huddle on the inner surface. The statue was the first major piece of art by an African-American sculptor to be placed on federal land in the District.

National World War II Memorial
(East end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument; Dedication: May 29, 2004; Architect: Friedrich St. Florian)
Dedicated on Memorial Day weekend 2004, the National World War II Memorial pays tribute to the 16 million Americans who served in uniform, the more than 400,000 who lost their lives and the millions more who sacrificed on the home front. The memorial’s north and south entrances are marked by two 43-foot pavilions, and two 70-foot flagpoles frame the ceremonial entrance at 17th Street. Within the pavilions, American Eagles perched atop bronze columns hold a suspended victory laurel. The WWII victory medal is inlaid on the floor of the pavilions, surrounded by the words “Victory on Land,” “Victory at Sea,” “Victory in the Air,” and the years "1941-1945." Curvilinear ramps allow easy access for disabled visitors.

Twenty-four bas relief panels along the ceremonial entrance depict Americans at war at home and overseas, and 56 granite pillars represent the states, territories and District of Columbia that constituted the United States during the war; collectively, the pillars symbolize national unity. A field of 4,000 sculpted gold stars on a Freedom Wall honors the 400,000 Americans who gave their lives for freedom. The center of the memorial is marked by the restored Rainbow Pool. Other waterworks include semi-circular fountains at the base of the pavilions and waterfalls that flank the Freedom Wall.

Arlington National Cemetery
(Located in Arlington, VA about .4 miles over the Potomac River. designated officially as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864)
More than four million visitors each year come to visit our nation’s most treasured burial ground, home to more than 300,000 honored soldiers and distinguished citizens.Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the Garrison at Arlington House during the Civil War and appropriated the grounds for use as a military cemetery. The official designation was granted on June 15, 1864, by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

The Memorial Amphitheater was dedicated on May 15, 1920. While numerous wreath-laying and other memorial ceremonies are conducted throughout the country, many consider the services at Arlington's Memorial Amphitheater to be the nation's official ceremonies to honor servicemen and women.

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