The following piece is a free-write that I did while on-site at the World War II Memorial on July 7, 2015. Please excuse any minor writing errors that may be present in this piece.
“They fought together as brothers-in-arms. They died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have solemn obligation.”
~Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
As one walks into the oval shaped area dedicated to the American World War II Veterans they are overcome with a sense of calm and a sense of peace. Along the entry way you walk by bronze engravings of families crowded around a radio in a kitchen- waiting to hear news about the war, you see soldiers trekking through jungles and through various terrains walking over dead bodies of their fallen comrades. Throughout the outside ring of the area there are wreaths for each and every state and territory that helped fight with the United States. A shrine dedicated to the battles in the Atlantic are on one side of the memorial while there is another fountain and tower on the other side dedicated to the Pacific. While sitting and reflecting there is a sense of peace that one feels as there is water from the fountain in the center gushing, creating background noise. As planes pass over-by flying to the nearest airport one can almost close their eyes and imagine how it feels to be sitting there on a boat in the navy, or flying a fighter pilot in the air force, but truly we will never fully be able to comprehend. By turning to the left and right the Washington and Lincoln memorials frame the atmosphere. On the far side of the memorial is possibly the greatest tribute to those who fought. The Freedom Wall holds 4,048 gold stars with each representing one hundred American service personnel who died or remained missing during the war.
“Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain death- the seas bear only commerce- men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace.”
~General Douglas MacArthur
The most breath-taking aspect of the construction of this monument is the way that everything was done with a purpose. Each inscription holds a different meaning, every stone put down was placed in that spot for a reason. The symbolism emanating from the monument is something that one cannot fully comprehend or understand in only a hour.
“Victory on land. Victory in the air. Victory at sea. World War II. 1941-1945.”