Washington DC Attractions — WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial — Among the Most Popular Washington DC Attractions

The WWII Memorial is one of the most popular of the Washington DC attractions.  Here, the visitor can pay their respects to the sacrifice made by the USA to win the Second World War.  Halfway between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, the WWII Memorial has magnificent views in all directions.   This is one of the Washington DC attractions that the visitor cannot miss.   One way to visit the WWII Memorial is to include it in a DC tour by Nonpartisan Pedicab.   The WWII Memorial is particularly impressive at twilight.

Opening Hours and Tickets at the WWII Memorial

The WWII Memorial can be viewed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days a year.  There is no access on July 4 due to its proximity to the fireworks.  It is always free to the public.

Handicapped Services at the WWII Memorial

Like all the major DC monuments, the WWII Memorial is accessible to people with disabilities.  The WWII Memorial sees a steady stream of aging World War II veterans.  At the infromation kiosk near to the Memorial, there are free wheelchairs for any handicapped or elderly person to use.  This service is available during working hours and is always free of charge.  Handicapped parking is available on Home Front Drive, just outside of the WWII Memorial.

Getting to the WWII Memorial

The nearest Metro station is Smithsonian Metro (on the Orange/Blue/Silver lines).  Be aware that the metro station is approximately a mile away from memorial.  There is currently no Capitol Bikeshare stand here.  The nearest Capitol Bikeshare stand is at the MLK Memorial.  A great way to get here is to include the WWII Memorial in a pedicab tour of Washington DC attractions.  Nonpartisan Pedicab gives a great tour of the DC monuments and the National Mall.

Parking at the WWII Memorial

Parking on the National Mall is always problematic.  At the WWII Memorial, there is only handicapped parking.  Any on street parking is a significant walk away.

On-street parking on the National Mall is no longer free of charge.  Three hour parking is available at $2 per hour.  Parking meters only accept credit cards.


The WWII Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival

The WWII Memorial is very close to the Tidal Basin.  The entire area around the Tidal Basin is lined with cherry trees.  During late March or early April, they all come into bloom at once.  The entire Tidal Basin area is a sea of pink and white.  Full bloom only lasts a few days before the petals start to fall.  The Cherry Blossom Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.  The Japanese Lantern is across Independence Avenue from the WWII Memorial.

WWII Memorial — History and Facts

The World War II Memorial honors the service of sixteen million members of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, the support of countless millions on the home front, and the ultimate sacrifice of 405,399 Americans. On May 29, 2004, a four-day “grand reunion” of veterans on the National Mall culminated in the dedication of this tribute to the legacy of “The Greatest Generation.”

Granite, bronze, and water elements harmoniously blend with the lawns, trees, and shrubbery of the surrounding landscape. Here, the spirit of the L’Enfant Plan for the City of Washington lives on through successful integration of a memorial into the openness of the National Mall. Great vistas endure toward the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial.

The twenty-four bronze bas-relief panels that flank the Ceremonial Entrance offer glimpses into the human experience at home and at war. They breathe new life into familiar black and white photographs or newsreels—especially, when a visiting veteran describes one of the scenes. The memorial also features areas where veterans’ recollections come flooding back, triggered by the sight of dozens of battle names and military campaign designations carved into stone. A wall of 4,048 Gold Stars silently pays solemn tribute to the sacrifice of more than 405,000 American lives.

Fifty-six granite columns, split between two half-circles framing the rebuilt Rainbow Pool with its celebratory fountains, symbolize the unprecedented wartime unity among the forty-eight states, seven federal territories, and the District of Columbia. Bronze ropes tie the columns together, while bronze oak and wheat wreathes respectively represent the nation’s industrial and agricultural strengths. Two 43-foot tall pavilions proclaim American victory on the Atlantic and Pacific fronts—on land, at sea, and in the air. Several hidden treasures appear as well, such as the famous “Kilroy was here” graffiti familiar to every veteran of the Second World War.

Visitors to the memorial are encouraged to search The World War II Registry, a computerized database honoring Americans who helped win the war, either overseas or on the home front. The National Park Service staff offers assistance to those wishing to update the list with additional names or information.

The National Park Service offers daily tours of the memorial every hour on the hour, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. In addition, Park Rangers offer several extended, in-depth walking and bicycle tours that include the World War II Memorial. The memorial is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 11:45 p.m.; it is closed on December 25 and for annual events surrounding the National Independence Day Celebration.

ard the White House. It was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Adolph A. Weinman’s sculpture of the five members of the Declaration of Independence drafting committee submitting their report to Congress is featured on the triangular pediment. Also noteworthy, and adorning the interior of the Memorial, are five quotations taken from Jefferson’s writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life.Few major changes have been made to the Memorial since its dedication in 1943. The most important change to note is the replacement of the plaster model statue of Thomas Jefferson by the bronze statue after the World War II restrictions on the use of metals were lifted. Each year the Jefferson Memorial plays host to various ceremonies, including annual Memorial exercises, Easter Sunrise Services and the ever-popular Cherry Blossom Festival. The Jefferson Memorial is administered and maintained by the National Park Service.

More information can be found at the National Park Service website.