This is the first national memorial dedicated to all those who served during World War II and acknowledges the commitment and achievement of the entire nation.
The memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world. It will inspire future generations of Americans, deepening their appreciation of what the World War II generation accomplished in securing freedom and democracy. Above all, the memorial stands as an important symbol of American national unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and awesome power that can flow when a free people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just cause.
The National Park Service, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission approved selection of the Rainbow Pool site at the east end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. President Clinton dedicated the memorial site during a formal ceremony on Veterans Day 1995.
The design submitted by Friedrich St.Florian, an architect based in Providence, R.I., was selected as one of six semi-finalists in an open, national competition. Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm, assembled the winning team with St.Florian as the design architect. The team also includes George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, Oehme van Sweden & Associates, and sculptor Ray Kaskey. St.Florian’s memorial design concept was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission in the summer of 1998. The commissions approved the preliminary design in 1999, the final architectural design and several ancillary elements in 2000, granite selections in 2001, and sculpture and inscriptions in 2002 and 2003.
Construction began in September 2001. The memorial opened to the public on April 29, 2004. The memorial was dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004 -- Memorial Day Weekend.
See the National World War II Memorial Website for more information.
From the National World War II Memorial website, 2004