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World War II Memorial Opening Soon

March 30, 2004

World War II Memorial Opening Soon
March 30, 2004 – The National World War II monument is scheduled to open to the public next month, according to The New York Times. The memorial, honoring the 16 million veterans and more than 400,000 members of the armed forces who died in World War II, will be dedicated on May 29, just prior to Memorial Day. The memorial also honors those supporting the war effort here at home.

Rhode Island architect, Friedrich St. Florian, designed the commemorative setting, which is located on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Funding for this 7.4-acre site came primarily from private donations.

The central element of the memorial is a granite plaza boarded by two arches representing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and highlighted by several fountains and pools. Fifty-six granite pillars symbolizing the nation’s 1940’s-era states, territories and the District of Columbia are connected by a bronze rope that symbolizes the bonding of their citizens. Two dozen bronze bas-relief panels along the entrance portray domestic and foreign scenes from the years during the war. The 85-foot curving Freedom Wall at the western end of the memorial has a field of 4,000 sculptured gold stars commemorating the servicemen and women who died in the war.

The dedication ceremony is part of the Memorial Day weekend celebrations taking place in Washington D.C., May 27-30. Other events include a summer-long program of 80 World War-II themed performances, exhibitions and tours titled "American Celebrates the Greatest Generation", including Norma Rockwell’s "Four Freedoms" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Associated Press World War II photos at Union Station.

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