A look at the new monument to American efforts in World War II

Although I’m not one who keeps close track of things going on around him, I was aware that a monument to American efforts during World War II that was planned and executed during my stay in the Washington, DC area was not without controversy. In general, there was some discontent with yet another memorial to war (a committee evaluating a memorial to Japanese-Americans interred in relocation camps initially declined the initiative on the basis that they didn’t want DC to be known as a collection of war memorials; the initiative succeeded when the role of the civilian Japanese-American population was put to the forefront). But also the memorial threatened to take center position among existing memorials (it lies between those to Lincoln and Washington), possibly destroying what some saw as classic sight-lines to those older structures.

Anyway, the memorial went through, and it was completed in early 2004. I waited until most of the hoopla had subsided before walking over to see what all the fuss was about.

In general, the effort to blend the new memorial into the existing environment works quite well, as perhaps these photographs reveal. A more subtle indication might be that although I would live in that area for nearly ten years after that first visit, I would never again notice that memorial during my varied wanderings around the national mall.