World War II Memorial, Washington D.C.

World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. (must see)

The World War II Memorial has a grand design that reflects the vastness of a war that spanned the entire globe. Two arches at either end of the memorial are symbolic of the Pacific and Atlantic areas of fighting. 56 pillars are arranged in two semicircles around both arches that represent the 48 states at the time of the war and the District of Columbia, plus the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Philippines.

The walls between the arches and in front of the pillars depict scenes that were typical of the Pacific and European theaters of the war. These are depicted in bas relief. An engraving of the ubiquitous “Kilroy Was Here” is also present. "Kilroy Was Here" is a meme that became popular during World War II, typically seen in graffiti. Its origin is debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle became associated with GIs in the 1940s.

On the west side sits the Freedom Wall that contains 4,048 gold stars each one representing 100 American soldiers who died or remain missing during WWII. Behind the Freedom Wall is the Reflecting Pool on the Mall. In front of the wall is the World War II Memorial Rainbow Pool and the stars reflect in the water. It makes for a very moving scene.

Almost 2/3 of the site is water or landscaping so the components of the memorial really stand out. The site is available for visiting 24 hours a day except around Memorial Day activities. Rangers are on hand to answer questions from around 10am to 11pm.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the more formal-style memorials, it carries a certain gravity, conveys a somber nature, and provides lots of space to reflect on the drama of WWII.
The small bronze relief panels on the walls show scenes of different wartime activities that give you a bit more insight into the lives of people during the war.
The entire site sits on a little over seven acres, so wear comfortable walking shoes.

Tip:
Entry is free but do it on a clear day if you can. On a wet day, there is nowhere much to shelter. If you join a guided tour, it's recommended to get some explanation of all the symbolism and pageantry.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Washington D.C.. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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World War II Memorial on Map

Sight Name: World War II Memorial
Sight Location: Washington D.C., USA (See walking tours in Washington D.C.)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Washington D.C., USA

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Creating your own self-guided walk in Washington D.C. is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years," goes the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.

Indeed, those remembered in Washington, D.C. – the renowned statesmen, politicians, fallen soldiers, and other distinguished persons – had their years filled with life to the brim. What they left behind is a great legacy manifested in historic...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia or simply The District, is the capital of the United States and, in many senses, America’s front yard. After the American Revolution, the need for the newly independent nation's federal government to have authority over a capital city and not rely on any state for its maintenance and safety, came in the wake of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Federal Buildings Walking Tour

The capital of the United States is home to several notable federal buildings that hold significant historical, architectural, and governmental value.

Among the stately “emblems of authority” in Washington D.C. perhaps the most prominent is the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States – The White House. This resplendent mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown Walking Tour

Overlooking the Potomac River, in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., lies a historic neighborhood called Georgetown. Those poetically inclined tend to compare Georgetown to "a tapestry of cobblestone dreams and timeless grace." Indeed, this part of Washington, D.C., replete with charming tree-lined, cobblestone streets, cultural landmarks, and a vibrant atmosphere, is a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Arlington National Cemetery Tour

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"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example," a distinguished politician of the 19th century said once.

The historic military necropolis – the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia – is the final resting place for many of America's heroes, whose willingness to sacrifice for their country has earned them the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

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