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Korean War Memorial

Image by StarrGazr
From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with the United Nations forces in Korea to take a stand against what was deemed a threat to democratic nations worldwide. At war’s finish, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime globe of families, residences, and jobs – and to a nation long reluctant to view the Korean War as some thing to memorialize. But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could in no way be a forgotten war.
The passing of much more than four decades has brought a new viewpoint to the war and its aftermath. The time has come, in the eyes of the Nation, to set aside a location of remembrance for the men and women who served in this tough-fought war half a planet away. The Korean War Veterans Memorial honors these Americans who answered the call, these who worked and fought under the most attempting circumstances, and those who gave their lives for the trigger of freedom.

A War Half a World Away

Only 5 years had passed given that the finish of Planet War II when the United States after once more found itself embroiled in a key international conflict. In the early morning hours of June 25, 1950, the communist government of North Korea launched an attack into South Korea. Determined to assistance the world’s imperiled democracies, the United States quickly sent troops from Japan to join those currently stationed in Korea they fought with other nations below the U.N. flag. What was envisioned as a brief, decisive campaign became a prolonged, bitter, frustrating fight that threatened to explode beyond Korean borders. For 3 years the fighting raged. In 1953 an uneasy peace returned by signifies of a negotiated settlement that established a new boundary close to the original a single at the 38th parallel.
A single-and-a-half million American guys and ladies, a true cross-section of the Nation’s populace, struggled side by side in the course of the conflict. They served as soldiers, chaplains, nurses, clerks, and in a host of other combat and help roles. Many risked their lives in extraordinary acts of heroism. Of these, 131 received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Nation’s most esteemed tribute for combat bravery.

A Spot for Reflection

Viewed from above, the memorial is a circle interesected by a triangle. Guests approaching the memorial come initial to the triangular Field of Service. Right here, a group of 19 stainless-steel statues, produced by Planet War II veteran Frank Gaylord, depicts a squad on patrol and evokes the encounter of American ground troops in Korea. Strips of granite and scrubby juniper bushes recommend the rugged Korean terrain, whilst windblown ponchos recall the harsh weather. This symbolic patrol brings with each other members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy the guys portrayed are from a range of ethnic backgrounds.
A granite curb on the north side of the statues lists the 22 nations of the United Nations that sent troops or gave medical assistance in defense of South Korea. On the south side is a black granite wall. Its polished surface mirrors the statues, intermingling the reflected photos with the faces etched into the granite. The etched mural is based on actual photographs of unidentified American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. The faces represent all these who provided assistance for the ground troops. With each other these pictures reflect the determination of U.S. forces and the countless methods in which Americans answered their country’s call to duty.

The adjacent Pool of Remembrance, encircled by a grove of trees, provides a quiet setting. Numbers of those killed, wounded, missing in action, and held prisoner-of-war are etched in stone nearby. Opposite this counting of the war’s toll another granite wall bears a message inlaid in silver:
Freedom Is Not Free of charge.

Establishment and Dedication

On October 28, 1986, Congress authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor members of the U.S. armed forces who served in the Korean War. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to advise a web site and design, and to raise building funds. Ground was broken in November 1993. Frank Gaylord was selected as the principal sculptor of the statues and Louis Nelson was selected to create the mural of etched faces on the wall. On July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, the memorial was devoted by President William J. Clinton and Kim Young Sam, President of the Republic of Korea.

Visiting the Memorial

The memorial is staffed from eight a.m. to midnight each and every day of the year except December 25 by park rangers who are available to answer concerns and give talks. A bookstore in the nearby Lincoln Memorial sells informational items relating to each the memorial and the Korean War.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial is element of the National Park Program, 1 of far more than 370 parks representing our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. Address inqueries to: Superintendent, National Capital Parks-Central, 900 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2000.