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Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Memorial: #6

Dedicated: July 27, 1995

Visitation: 3,514,113 (FY 2004)

Highlights: 19 soldier statues, wall containing 2,500 sandblasted images, remembrance pool

Lowlights: The memorial has a strange, eerie feel to it

Location: National Mall, Washington, D.C, southeast of the Lincoln Memorial.

Hours: Open daily, 8am to midnight, closed December 25.

Admission: Free!


Personal Rating:   (5 thumb max)

For three years, during the early 1950s, the Korean War helped stem the spread of communism during the Cold War era. Considered by many as one of America's minor wars, and by some as just a conflict, comparing its ratio of bloodshed to the Vietnam War puts things into better perspective.

On average, for a given day of fighting, 5 times the number of American fatalities were realized during the Korean War as compared to the Vietnam War. Looking at the total U.N. dead, that statistics skyrockets to 57 times. If not the biggest or most notorious of America's wars, it was certainly one of the bloodiest. All told, 628,833 U.N. fatalities occurred (54,246 American), and that's not counting the losses incurred by the North Korean and Chinese forces.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is not only dedicated to those Americans who participated in the war, it also pays tribute to the other 21 nations who, through a U.N. sanctioned partnership, contributed money, support resources, and/or soldiers to the war effort. Dedicated in 1995, the memorial is comprised of an interesting mix of elements and hidden symbolism.

Overall, the memorial is a circle of water intersected by a large triangle that symbolizes a peninsula (the Korean Peninsula). The most prominent feature of the memorial is a platoon of 19 life-sized soldiers, each burdened with a large, heavy rucksack. Each soldier is covered with a rain poncho, signifying the miserable, rainy weather the troops experienced during the war. Next to the platoon is a long wall covered with 2,500 faces, illustrating, in sandblasted granite, the various military services that were needed to support the activities of the foot soldiers at the war front. Rounding out the memorial is the Pool of Remembrance, a place to go for rest and reflection.

I've arrived at the memorial. I'm finding myself rather interested in taking a closer look at the platoon of soldiers as well as the wall of faces. Come with me, I'm sure you'll find something interesting to look at as well.

Description & Pics

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