Friday, May 17, 2013
“Freedom is not free.”
The Korean War Veterans Memorial aims to spread that message by encompassing all of the various entities and people who contributed to the freedom of South Korea in the 1950’s. Emerging from the Ash Woods in West Potomac Park, the larger-than life soldiers, UN Wall, and mural each contribute to the sense that freedom requires a collective sacrifice.
In 1988, President Reagan appointed the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board which selected the land directly south across the Reflecting Pool from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as the location. In 1995, the designer, Cooper-Lecky, broke ground on the project on the 42nd anniversary of the war’s armistice. Just two years later on July 25, 1997 President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young Sam dedicated the memorial.
The 2.2-acre site contains several elements, all pointing towards the Pool of Remembrance at the apex of the area. The Pool honors the lives of the 54,269 American casualties of the conflict. At the opposite end of the space, 19 soldiers emerge from the trees: an eternal patrol. The soldiers, sculpted by Frank Gaylord, stand slightly larger-than-life at 7’3” tall and are noted for their extremely expressive faces and body language. The soldiers are walking amongst juniper bushes and granite strips, representing the rough terrain they faced.
A 164-foot long mural made of polished black granite runs the length of the south end of the memorial. It is etched with 2,500 photographic images of the support staff that helped soldiers get through the conflict safely. The wall ends at the center of the Pool of Remembrance with the words “Freedom is not free.” The UN wall runs the length of the memorial’s north side, commemorating all the countries that were involved in the South Korean independence effort.
Learn more about the Korean War Memorial on Wikipedia.
You Can Help
The National Mall is in a state of disrepair.
Visit the Korean War Memorial:
Did you know??
The soldiers are proportionally representative of the races and segments of the military that participated in the Korean War. This is particularly notable because it was the first war during which the US military was fully integrated.