Remembering Our Heroes
While many of us our looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the official kick off to summer, we often forget just what this coming Monday is really about: To remember the men and women of our armed services who have died in a United States War. Find some of the United States most moving and iconic tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Honoring the men and women who served in the controversial Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country.
While there are several parts to this memorial site, including “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the most famous part is simply known as the wall. The Memorial (wall) was designed by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China, She acted as a consultant with the architectural firm of Cooper- Lecky Partnership on the construction of the Memorial.
Completed in 1983, The Wall consists of two 246 feet and 9 inches gabbro stone which were sunk into the ground, with earth behind them. It looms 10 feet high at the apex point and tapers to 8 inches on either end. This India quarried stone was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality, so that when a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, symbolically bringing the past and present together.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Located in a natural crater, The Punchbowl, consists of military cemetery along with 60 memorial boulders for those that fought in various United States conflicts around the Pacific Ocean. Although there are various translations of the Punchbowl’s Hawaiian name, “Puowaina,” the most common is “Hill of Sacrifice.” Continuously expanding since 1949, this vast breath taking site houses the remains of over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II alone.
The famously striking grand stone staircase is flanked by the ten marble slabs of the Courts of the Missing which list the names of the 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Designed by the architecture firm, Weihe, Frick, & Kruse, and completed in 1964 this solemn space is watched over by Lady Liberty.
World War II Memorial
Honoring the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home it is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis in Washington, DC. Designed by Rhode Island architect, Friedrich St.Florian, this memorial site was created by a team of artisans assembled by Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm. With St.Florian as the design architect, the eam also included George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, landscape architect Oehme van Sweden & Associates, sculptor Ray Kaskey, and stone carver and letterer Nick Benson.
The final design consists of fifty-six, 17 foot tall granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two 43 foot triumphal arches on opposite sides. Two-thirds of the 7.4 acre site is landscaping and water. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 US States of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska and Hawaii Terrritories, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, American Somoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. The northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic” and the southern one,”Pacific”.
USS Arizona Memorial
This unique memorial site is a structure built over the remains of USS Arizona that sunk upon the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Designed by Honolulu architect, Alfred Preis, who had been detained at Sand Island enemy at the start of the war due to his Austrian birth. The US Navy specified that the memorial be in the shape of a bridge and the architect complied by creating a 184 foot long structure withe two peaks at each in connected by a sag in the center of the structure. Representing the height of American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war.
On the inside, the shrine lists the names of the 1102 men that died in the attack
USS Bowfin Submarine Waterfront Memorial
As the daughter of a 28 year veteran submariner, this site was especially poignant to me. The Waterfront Memorial stands in tribute to the 52 U.S. submarines and more than 3,500 submariners who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation during World War II. The fifty-two monuments chronicle the wartime career of each of the lost submarines and list the names of the officers and enlisted men who are “on eternal patrol” with their vessels.
The USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial is the end result of of four years of hard work by a talented team of historians, architects, graphic designers, landscapers and skilled craftspeople.
It is no surprise that their are countless memorials scattered across the United States including battlefields, monuments, cemeteries and parks and for good reason since a staggering 1,321,612 Million of men and women lost their lives in US conflicts since the founding of our country in 1775.
Mr. H says: Never forget that those that died for their country was someones child, spouse, sibling, relative, friend and coworker. Let us give thanks to those they left behind.