Celebrating Veterans Day: War Memorials Around the United States
Visiting US war memorials can be a very moving experience. They help us to remember the sacrifices that have been made for our country and to honor the brave men and women who have served our nation.
By learning about our country's history, we can teach future generations about the importance of freedom and democracy.
US War Memorials in Washington, D.C.
The National Mall in Washington D.C. houses several monuments and memorials honoring every part of the country’s past. Touring the Mall gives a visual perspective of our country’s rich history and gives an opportunity to reflect on the brave people who fought for the United States.
There’s a lot to see, so you’ll want to plan for longer than just a day trip. A long weekend is the perfect opportunity to see all the monuments along with everything else the Capitol has to offer!
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
With more than 5 million visitors per year, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is the most visited monument in the National Mall. It is made of two 200-foot-long sections of shiny black granite honoring the names of over 58,000 soldiers from every branch of the military that were lost in the Vietnam War.
Watching over the memorial is the Three Servicemen Statue, which depicts three soldiers who fought in the war and returned home.
Nearby in a grove of trees is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, visually telling the tale of three nurses providing aid to a wounded soldier. This statue is a monument to the soldiers that made it home thanks to the contributions of brave women on the battlefield.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met." These words engraved on the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. are a somber reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers of the Korean War.
This memorial consists of several parts. These include the Mural Wall that has been sandblasted to depict 38 soldiers, 19 stainless steel soldiers in full battle gear, the Pool of Remembrance, and the Memorial Wall with the names of over 36,000 lost US soldiers and over 8,000 members of the U.S. Army Korean augmentation forces.
Located just southeast of the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial can be visited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 to the 16 million members of the US armed forces who fought in World War II, along with the over 400,000 who were tragically lost and all who supported from home.
It contains 56 pillars representing the 48 states and 8 territories the United States held at the time. The west side of the memorial is covered in gold stars, each symbolizing 100 US soldiers lost.
It also features two walls depicting iconic images from the war that tell the story from beginning to end. It starts with soon-to-be soldiers receiving their gear, and ends with a homecoming scene and the final handshake between the Russian and American armies.
US War Memorials in Arlington, Virginia
Located just minutes from the Capitol., Arlington is another place containing memorials to vital pieces of the United States’ history. Located just across from the Potomac River, you will want to include Arlington in your historical tour of Washington, D.C.
The Arlington National Cemetery
The land once belonging to George Washington’s adopted grandson was turned into a national cemetery in 1864. This was just a few years after the US Army seized the abandoned estate in order to defend the Capitol during the Civil War.
This cemetery allows visitors to pay respects to fallen soldiers who fought in every war since the Civil War. It also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is the final resting place of four unidentified soldiers lost in battle.
The Tomb is ceremonially protected by guards, who follow a meticulous routine and switch out on a regular basis day and night, regardless of weather.
United States Marine Corps War Memorial
The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, was dedicated in 1954 to all members of the US Marines that lost their lives in service since 1775.
The memorial was inspired by a famous photograph of six Marines raising the US flag during the battle of Iwo Jima and includes a flag that is flown 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.
The Iran Rescue Mission Memorial
While this memorial does not commemorate a war in particular, it honors eight service members that lost their lives in a tragic helicopter accident during a rescue mission. They were en route to save American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Iran at the time of the tragedy.
The memorial consists of a marble column engraved with the eight names. It is a simple but somber reminder of the team that gave everything in an effort to save 56 of their fellow Americans.
US War Memorials Around the Country
The USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii
The tragedy of Pearl Harbor was a momentous time in US history. The memorial is built over the site of the sunken USS Arizona, which serves as the final resting place for over 1,000 crew members lost during the attack.
The event became known as the worst naval disaster in American history. While there are no onsite guided tours at the monument, you can grab a device for an audio tour once you take the boat ride to the memorial.
The National World War 1 Monument in Kansas City, Missouri
The monument and museum honoring World War I veterans is one of Kansas City’s most popular landmarks. It was created by 40 prominent Kansas City citizens soon after the war ended.
The in-depth museum has several exhibits for visitors to view that honor the soldiers lost in the war, the veterans that made it home but were forever changed, and the prisoners of war that suffered during the conflict.
It focuses on events that lead to the first world war, all the way through to the armistice of 1918. It is a sobering depiction of the suffering and tragedy that the United States and the world as whole felt during this first major war.
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City
Visiting the site of America’s most haunting tragedy is a harrowing and humbling experience. The lives lost during 9/11 changed the culture of the United States forever.
The 9/11 Memorial that stands on Ground Zero today is meant to be a place of mourning and reflection for the victims of the terrorist attacks that shocked the world only two decades ago. While it is a very somber destination, it is inspiring to see the resiliency of NYC in action with the new World Trade Center!