Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the National WWII Memorial, though opened to the general public in April of 2004, was officially dedicated a month later on May 29, 2004. The journey of this epic memorial began over ten year earlier in 1993, when President Clinton authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission to create this memorial.
After a site was established, a national design competition was announced. Over 400 entries were received and then eventually narrowed down to six semi-finalists. The winning team was an international architecture firm – Leo A Daly. Once the preliminary design was selected, funds needed to be raised to financially support the construction. The fund-raising campaign received over $197 million, which included $16 million coming in from the U.S. government. Large amounts were also donated by veterans’ groups such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other similar groups.
Located on the west side of this WWII memorial is the Freedom Wall. Here, 4,048 gold stars are located – with each representing 100 WWII U.S. casualties. The World War II Memorial does not, however, commemorate only those who died during the war. It is also dedicated to the 16 million who served as well as all Americans who supported the war efforts here at home. The World War II era marks a time when patriotism was at its strongest and the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. is an accurate tribute to all.
A heart-felt message displayed on the Freedom Wall accurately summarizes what the gold stars represent:
“Here we mark the price of freedom”