• The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was dedicated on July 27, 1995.
The Korean War Memorial features 19 seven-foot stainless steel statues clad in battle gear – reminiscent of a platoon. Frank Gaylord is the sculptor of the statues.
The Korean War Memorial is located about three blocks west of the Martin Luther King Memorial to the south side of the Reflecting Pool – very close to the Lincoln Memorial. It is presently being enlarged to include a wall that will feature the names of those killed or missing in action. Because of this construction, there may be occasional closures of some parts of this Memorial.
Opened to the public in 1995 by President Clinton, the memorial also features a 165-foot-long polished granite mural wall that runs along the south side of the 19 statues. There are 2500 images etched in this wall showing photographic likenesses of the military contingents that supported the troops – pilots, nurses, trained canine units, members of the clergy – all are staring directly back at the viewer.
To best capture the message of the memorial, face the granite wall standing about 7” away. You will immediately notice not only the faces in the wall staring at you but also see the reflection of the platoon of soldiers. Because there are 19 statues in the platoon their reflection – or mirror image – then doubles the number of soldiers represented at the memorial – to equal 38. The Korean War was fought over the 38th parallel – the proposed division between North and South Korea. You will also see yourself reflected in the polished granite!
The Korean War is also known as the “forgotten war” occurring between World War II and the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1953. There is a feeling of anonymity, loneliness and forgottenness projected at this memorial. The body language of unnamed statues reveals the terror of a far-away war; none of the faces in the polished granite wall is identified; the motto of the war, “Freedom is Not Free”, speaks a deep warning. The addition of the names of the dead and missing from the Korean War – now under construction – will go far to honor our nations sons and daughters who “answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”
This is located on the far west end of “The Mall”. Not many options for food and beverage in this area, there is a Park Service concession stand nearby that sells typical cafeteria-style food and drink options.
If you are having fun with your camera, take a few minutes to photograph some of the statues and even the images on the wall here in black and white mode.