After leaving Ford's Theater, The Bus took us to the National Mall area, also known as the Nation's Front Yard. We would visit the National Mall dozens of times over the next week, but this evening, we were heading to one thing: the National World War II Monument.
We had picked up a tour guide along the way, Ed, who would stay on our bus for the entire week. Ed was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, and as we drove through the streets of D.C., he would point out points of interest and dissolve into a story behind them. I *hope* the kids were listening and picking up some information, but you just never know with kids. Although Ed was knowledgeable, he wasn't exactly funny - and you can definitely "lose" your listeners.
So, as we pulled up and parked by the WWII Memorial, Ed regaled us with all of the history and architecture behind this massive monument. I couldn't remember half of it, but I just decided to walk around on my own to see what I could find….
When first walking up to the Memorial, you come across this "Announcement" Stone:
"Here in the presence of Washington and Lincoln, one the eighteenth century father and the other the nineteenth century preserver of our nation, we honor those twentieth century Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War and made the sacrifices to perpetuate the gift our forefathers entrusted to us: a nation conceived in liberty and justice."
Wow. Some powerful stuff there.
There were lots of other inscriptions to be found, including these noteworthy ones:
Dedicated in 2004, the monument contains 56 granite columns that symbolize unity among the states, territories and the District of Columbia. There are also two 43-foot tall structures that highlight America's victory on the Atlantic and Pacific fronts during the war:
We had a mere 30 minutes at the most to explore this massive memorial, but I managed to find some other little treasures:
A seal on the floor of the memorial using the World War II Victory Medal design
A series of 24 bas reliefs depict the all-out mobilization of America’s agricultural, industrial, and military and human resources during the Second World War.
The Freedom Wall is on the west side of the memorial, with a view of the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial behind it. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of the wall lies the message "Here we mark the price of freedom".
Up close…so powerful...
There's normally fountains and a pool of water at the site, but because we were there before spring (and warmer weather), the fountains had not been turned on. Later in the week, we did a drive-by of the memorial, as we'd heard a rumor that they water was running - and this was true. And it was stunning. But no pictures, as the bus was moving too fast to snap one. Drat.
So…I swiped a photo off of Wikipedia, showing how it would have looked if the water had been on:
And one more, just for good measure:
Unfortunately, due to our limited time to visit this, as well as the cooler temperatures, I don't think the kids really appreciated this - or got the impact. This memorial would be one I would definitely visit again in the future, allowing more time to really take it all in, and viewing the different bas reliefs and inscriptions.
This whirlwind visit would be just a foreshadowing of the week that was to come…we pretty much did this everywhere we went: swooped in, swooped out, with extremely limited time to fully take in whatever it was we were visiting. Just a taste…a nibble…but never a complete "meal" of a particular site...
And speaking of meals…it was time for dinner…and we were ready to head off to what would be, looking back, the best meal I had all week…stay tuned!!!