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WWII Memorial Dedication

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We Will Forever Remember

In 1982, nine years after withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, officials dedicated a national memorial honoring those who served this country during the Vietnam War. In 2004, nearly 60 years after the Japanese surrender, officials dedicated a national memorial honoring those who served their country during World War II. Arguably the most significant event of the 20th century, many questioned during the intervening decades why the Second World War, which involved twice as many uniformed soldiers and seven times as many American fatalities, lacked a similarly prominent memorial honoring their sacrifice in our nation's capital.

   

Event Highlights

Dedication Ceremony Timeline

WWII Memorial Factsheet (PDF)
WWII Factsheet (PDF)

Packet Materials

Visitor Information
Registry of Remembrances
During the 2004 Memorial Day holiday, officials forever ended these inquiries during a weekend-long series of events in Washington, D.C., culminating on May 29 with the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. Occupying perhaps the most “sacred” real estate within the National Mall – the axis between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial – hundreds of thousands gathered on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon to pay homage not to a granite-and-bronze monument but to the permanent enshrinement of an ideal that will forever inspire future generations. Established by millions of young men and women, farmers and “city folk” alike, this “greatest generation” unhesitatingly set aside personal dreams and aspirations in order to serve a greater cause – the battle for democracy against fascism – thereby preserving the freedoms we enjoy today.

Courtesy of its “Celebration of Freedom Campaign” in 2000, NFDA President Mark Musgrove, NFDA CEO Christine Pepper and the rest of the Executive Board witnessed firsthand the dedication of this memorial, honored to represent the thousands of NFDA-member firms that raised $3 million for construction of the National World War II Memorial. Complete coverage of the weekend's dedication events, plus a close-up of the memorial and an explanation of its symbolism, will appear in the September 2004 issue of The Director magazine. Meanwhile, if your firm held a hometown ceremony to honor World War II veterans in conjunction with the official dedication on May 29, please e-mail details and photographs, if available, to craymond@nfda.org.

Mere days before Saturday's ceremony, the FBI issued a warning about the possibility of terrorist attacks within the United States, listing first among possible targets the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. While the presence of extensive security measures, including metal detectors, military helicopters, Secret Service members and sharpshooters posted atop the memorial itself, did little to alleviate fears of those in attendance, perhaps the timing of the memorial's dedication is fitting, six decades after the fact. While those that oppose the freedoms we enjoy today operate “invisibly” and strike without warning, even within our own borders, maybe this trouble-free dedication should serve as one final lesson courtesy of those who overcame similar fears and prevailed against a no-less-dire threat to democracy 60 years ago, reminding us forever that the American spirit will ultimately triumph against the foes of freedom. Chris Raymond, Editor, The Director

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Photos courtesy of Christopher J. McCartin/Chris Cross Commercial Photography