The Korean War Veterans Memorial

Tuesday, 1 January 2013
There are many excellent choices for places to go or things to do when visiting Washington DC and most visitors plan to include stops at memorials or monuments. As you plan, the Korean War Memorial is a stop to seriously consider.

Located in the National Mall in West Potomac Park, this memorial was designed to remember and respectfully honor the courage, patriotism and dedication of all who served in what once was dubbed The Unknown War and America's Forgotten War. A silver inscription graces the area where the Korean War Memorial is located reminding all who visit that "Freedom is Not Free."

One hundred tons of black, granite was used to create the wall at the Korean War Memorial Polished to the degree that it reflects the surroundings and visitors, it was sandblasted with thousands of images taken directly from archival photos and the images show the real faces of those who served. Much consideration was given to what images would be used and in the end over 2,400 were chosen to be used throughout the memorial.

One of the Korean War Memorials most prominent and moving of features is the military squad. Stainless steel was used to create the nineteen statues that appear to be on patrol in a Korean-esque landscape dotted with Juniper bushes. The squad is comprised of the various branches of the United States Military: one from the Navy, one from the Air Force, three from the Marine Corp and fourteen from the Army.

Another feature of the Korean War Memorial is the Pool of Remembrance. Edged with the same black granite used in other areas of the memorial, this tree lined pool is a place of reflection upon the human cost of the war. Benches also line the area, as well as engravings that detail the numbers of those missing in action, wounded, POW or killed in action. Like in many of the other monuments and memorials, the use of symbolism is prolific and profound. Three Rose of Sharon bushes are planted in this area of the memorial because this is the national flower of South Korea. One interesting thing to mention is that the design of the pool reflects the squad of soldiers, but in the reflection there are not nineteen servicemen but thirty eight. The significance of this is that Korea is located on the 38th Parallel.

Deep consideration was given to this particular memorial in order to express the respect and gratitude that is deserved to all who served in the Korean War. It stands as a beautiful, moving and lasting tribute so that "America's Forgotten War" is never truly forgotten. This is a destination worth including when you are in the DC area.

by Susan Brannock


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