Korean War Veterans Memorial

Statues at the Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial occupies a site on the National Mall, just south of the Reflecting Pool and southeast of the Lincoln Memorial. Construction of the memorial was commissioned by Congress in October, 1986. There was significant controversy over the design and construction of the monument but the ground-breaking ceremony happened on June 14, 1992 with President George H.W. Bush presiding and the actual memorial dedication happened on July 27, 1995 with President Bill Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young Sam presiding.

The main memorial area is in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle. The triangle has one wall: 164 feet long, eight inches thick and made of highly polished "Academy Black" granite from California. More than 2,500 images have been sandblasted into the granite, depicting the land, sea and air troops who supported those who were on the front lines. Within the area of the triangle are 19 larger-than-life-size stainless steel statues designed by Frank Gaylord. Each statue weighs almost 1,000 pounds and each represents a member of a squad on patrol, 14 US Army soldiers, 3 US Marines, 1 Navy Corpsman and 1 US Air Force Forward Air Observer. Each is dressed in full combat gear and each statue is dispersed across an area peppered with strips of granite and juniper bushes (representing the rough Korean terrain). The north side of the triangle is a path and just north of the path is the United Nations Wall, a low wall listing the 22 United Nations members that contributed troops and other support during the war. Within the circle is the Pool of Remembrance: a 30-foot diameter pool lined with black granite and encircled by a grove of linden trees with sitting benches. The trees are shaped to allow the sun to reflect directly on the pool. Around the circle are a series of plaques with inscriptions of the numbers of killed, wounded, held as prisoners of war and missing in action, for the US and for the United Nations countries involved.

An aerial view of the Korean War Veterans Memorial
An aerial view of the Korean War Veterans Memorial
Map of the Korean War Veterans Memorial area
Korean War Veterans Memorial area map