Cool water touched the feet of many onlookers who gathered to pay their respects to the heroes of one of America’s most famous wars. The World War II memorial along the National Mall in Washington D.C. allows visitors to place their feet in the large fountain located in the center of the memorial. On a hot summer’s day, guests of all ages welcomed this opportunity.
Every visitor to the memorial can be tied in some way to that great war. Whether they are foreign tourists or tourists from other parts of the U.S., stories of family members fighting in that war have been passed down through generations. But even if an individual did not have family members fighting in the war, their country likely played a role in the battles in some manner, so they have a national tie to the war instead. World War II was truly a global war.
As a recent college graduate with a degree in history, and family members who have served in the military (some even in World War II), this memorial resonated with me. My favorite non-fiction book is Band of Brothers, which tells the story of a company in the 101st airborne infantry called Easy Company. They took part in the invasion of Normandy (D-Day) and helped capture Eagle’s Nest (Hitler’s retreat in the mountains of Germany) at the end of the war. The story follows the men and the war hero Richard Winters who began as a lieutenant when he parachuted into Normandy but was promoted to captain just after D-Day, when their commanding officer went missing. He finishes the war as a major. The lives of these men, their stories, flashed through my mind as I walked around the memorial.
There were wreaths hanging from each of the 56 pillars, which represented each of the states and territories of the United States. The men and women of these states and territories worked together during one of America’s most trying times. 4,000 gold stars were on the freedom wall, one star for every one hundred American servicemen killed during the war. There were quotes engraved into the granite walls. Quotes that appreciated the role of women on the home-front, and the victories of the men overseas.
This experience is one I recommend to everyone. The sheer beauty and patriotism displayed on the memorial makes this a top tourist destination, especially since it is conveniently located on the National Mall.
Continue following this blog this summer as I visit important historic places near the nation’s capital. Some stories this summer will include: Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home), Gettysburg, the fourth of July in the nation’s capital, and Harper’s Ferry.
To follow my life as an intern this summer, follow me on social media:
Facebook: Misty In America
Instagram: @QueenoftheMistys (personal)
Great first article. Since I share my birthday with D-Day I have always had an interest with the heroism of the troops on that pivotal day.
This was a great addition to your blog Misty. I will be sharing with my friends! Take advantage of traveling young while you can and I look forward to seeing what’s next.