By; Rachel Fritz
Normally, when you think of monuments in Washington, DC the ones that come to mind include the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. However, there are some that are hidden unless you know where they are or you walk off the beaten path. That is what I experienced today and I am extremely grateful that I stumbled upon the Korean War Veteran Memorial. It was a cloudy and cold for my last day in Washington, DC. My flight didn’t leave until 7:30 pm and I had about five hours to kill. With a limited amount of money on my Metro card, I headed back to the National Mall to see the monuments one last time. As I traveled from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln, I noticed a white dome monument over to my left, which turned out to be a memorial for the World War soldiers. I decided I would go check that out after the Lincoln. Thankfully, I decided to do this because I ran into the Korean War Veteran Memorial on my way. This monument became my favorite monument in DC, the layout of it was so beautiful. The statues of the soldiers that were displayed were breathtaking and gave me chills. Luckily for me, my curiosity led me in its direction because this monument was kind of hidden. If someone was walking the sidewalk by the Reflecting Pool it is hard to see.
Now onto a little history behind this monument. It was dedicated on July 27, 1995, for the 5.8 million soldiers who served in the United States Armed Services during the Korean War. The war only lasted a brief duration, three years from 1950-1953. The casualties in the war included over 103,000 Americans that were wounded and over 8,000 still missing in action. The memorial includes four components which include the nineteen stainless steel statues which stand approximately seven feet tall and weigh over one-thousand pounds. These statues represent all branches of the military that served in the Korean War. The way they are positioned represents a platoon on patrol. The soldiers
The mural wall that stands behind the statues, expands one-hundred sixty-four feet. The pictures that appear in the mural contain about two thousand four hundred pictures that were retrieved from the National Archives. The walk by the mural appears to look like a mountain range in Korea. When the wall is reflected on, there are thirty-eight soldiers and thirty-eight months. The mural also represents the thirty-eighth parallel, which separated North and South Korea. There is a quote at the beginning of this memorial that looks on the soldiers “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend the country they never knew and a people they never met.” This quote was very impactful because it sits right before the soldiers and the wall.
The third part of the monument includes the United Nations Wall. This wall listed the twenty-two countries of the United Nations that contributed troops to the war effort. Finally, the Pool of Remembrance, which serves as a reflective pool for visitors. In the middle of the pool is the wall that states “Freedom is not Free”. At the base of this is the number of Americans and United Nations soldiers that lost their lives in the war. This list those killed in action, wounded in action, missing in action and prisoners of war.