Retrospective|Military

With Memorial Day upon us I was thinking about where I would like to go in the future to honor The Fallen of this country. To pay respect and to honor the sacrifice they made for this country.  Their sacrifice has allowed us to enjoy the freedoms and liberties we in America cherish so dearly. The freedom of religion and speech. To live free of the fear of corrupt governmental powers. For the leaders of this country to be held responsible by its people without the fear of reprisal. This wouldn’t be possible without their sacrifice. Throughout the wars of  this nation’s history millions have answered the call to preserve our freedoms and the democracy of this sovereign nation. Many Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice to see that freedom realized. America wouldn’t stand as the beacon of freedom it is today without those sacrifices by those brave men fighting on the frontlines. 

On Memorial Day we should seek to honor those who have fallen and pay tribute to their eternal sacrifice. 

Listed below are the Top 5 War Memorials I would be honored to witness and make a warrior’s pilgrimage to experience them first hand.

Editor’s Note: Below I will leave the description of the Memorials below. The Description of the Memorials will come from there perspective websites. I do not want to misrepresent any of the information of these Memorials. I will let the men and women who curate these memorials speak on the Memorials of The Fallen.

Tomb of The Unknown Soldier
Arlington, VA

The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier resides in Arlington National Cemetery on a hill which overlooks Washington D.C. Back on March 4, 1921 Congress approved the burial of the unidentified American Soldier from WWI in the Plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.

The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classic pilasters, or columns, set into the surface. Sculpted into the east panel which faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. The six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words:

”Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

The Tomb sarcophagus was placed above the grave of the Unknown Soldier of World War I. West of the World War I Unknown are the crypts of unknowns from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Those three graves are marked with white marble slabs flush with the plaza.

Here is a link to Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to learn more.

World War II Memorial 
Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial honors the service of sixteen million members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, the support of countless millions on the home front, and the ultimate sacrifice of 405,399 Americans. On May 29, 2004, a four-day “grand reunion” of veterans on the National Mall culminated in the dedication of this tribute to the legacy of “The Greatest Generation.”

Twenty-four bronze bas-relief panels flank the ceremonial entrance. To many, these panels stir memories as they tell the story of America’s experience in the war. Granite columns representing each U.S. state and territory at the time of World War II ring an impressive pool with water shooting high into the air. Quotes, references to theaters, campaigns, and battles, and two massive victory pavilions chronicle the efforts Americans undertook to win the war. A wall of 4,048 gold stars reminds all of the prices over 400,000 Americans paid to win that victory.

Click here to go to the WWII Memorial Website.

Marine Corps War Memorial  
Arlington,VA

Editor’s Note: Being a Marine many people might believe this would have been my first choice to visit. There are so many powerful memorials to visit trying to put them in any type of order is a daunting task. This Marine Corps War Memorial is definitely hallowed ground. 

The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial’s world-famous statue, which is based on the iconic photograph taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, depicts the six soldiers who raised of the second American flag at Iwo Jima in the Japanese Volcano Islands on February 23, 1945, signifying the conclusion of the American campaign in the Pacific during World War II. The memorial is dedicated to “the Marine dead of all wars and their comrades of other services who fell fighting beside them.” The memorial was dedicated on November 10, 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the American flag has flown from the statue 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by presidential proclamation ever since.

The bronze statue was made by sculptor Felix W. de Weldon. He worked with the three surviving soldiers from the battle, Rene A. Gagnon, Ira Hayes and John H. Bradley, to model their faces in clay. The base of the memorial is engraved with every major battle involving the U.S. Marine Corps since 1775.

Click here to go the Marine Corps War Memorial website.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 
Washington D.C.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall pays tribute to the brave members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War and were killed or missing in action. The memorial consists of three separate parts: The Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, also known as The Wall That Heals, which is the most popular feature.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall provides one of the National Mall’s most powerful scenes. In truth, the “wall” is actually made up of two identical walls that each stretch 246 feet and 9 inches, containing more than 58,000 names. The names are listed in chronological order based on the date of casualty, and within each day, names are shown in alphabetical order.

Perhaps the memorial wall’s most defining characteristic is a visitor’s ability to see his or her reflection at the same time as the engraved names, connecting the past and the present like few other monuments can. If you wish to spot the name of a relative or friend while there, search the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Virtual Wall before you embark or find the on-site list.

Vietnam Veteran Women’s Memorial – National Mall – Washington, DC

Just south of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, which commemorates the 265,000 women that served in the Vietnam War, many of whom worked as nurses. The 2,000 pound bronze structure stands 15 feet tall and depicts three women attending to a wounded soldier, reflecting the unity required during the conflict.

The third part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is The Three Soldiers (also known as The Three Servicemen) bronze statue, another moving reminder of the disparate groups that had to come together during the Vietnam War. Each of the three soldiers stands seven feet tall, situated on top of a one-foot granite base, and are arranged as if to show the three soldiers gazing upon the memorial wall at the names of their fellow comrades.

Click here to go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial website.

Korean War Memorial 
Washington, D.C.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was dedicated on July 27, 1995. The memorial commemorates the sacrifices of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed services during the three-year period of the Korean War. From June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, 54,246 Americans died in support of their country. Of these, 8,200 were listed as missing in action, or lost or buried at sea at the Honolulu Memorial, at the time of the Korean War Courts of the Missing dedication in 1966.  In addition 103,284 were wounded during the conflict. As an integral part of the memorial, the Korean War Honor Roll was established, honoring those U.S. military personnel who died worldwide during the war.

Statues:

The 19 stainless steel statues were sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, Vt. and cast by Tallix Foundries of Beacon, N.Y. They are approximately 7-feet tall and represent an ethnic cross section of America. The advance party has 14 Army, three Marine, one Navy and one Air Force members. The statues stand in patches of juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment. The ponchos seem to blow in the cold winds of Korea.

Click here to go to the Korean War Memorial Website.

Those are my top 5 War Memorials I would like to take a warrior’s journey  to visit. These are memorials to honor The Fallen of this country. It is their eternal sacrifice that gives us the ability to enjoy the freedoms we have in this country. It doesn’t matter when you decide to honor them but, we should all take a moment to thank them for their ultimate sacrifice. 

Thanks for Reading 

Where is someplace you would like to make a warrior’s journey to visit? Let me know in the comments below.

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