Memorializing the War: The Best World War II Memorials


By: Steve Fagaly

Conflicts throughout the years and the American heroes who fought in them need to be memorialized and remembered, if not for their sake then to remind us of the perils we once faced. Across the United States, there are several World War II memorials you can visit to transport yourself back to the 1940s, when the Allied and Axis forces were locked in a heated battle for land and power.

There are many memorials worth visiting, but what better place to begin than with the series of memorials commemorating the start of it all for the United States: Pearl Harbor.

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

One of the country’s finest tributes to the men and women of World War II, the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii is a bold reminder of those who fought during the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941. Tours throughout Pearl Harbor are sure to elicit strong emotions as local guides provide in-depth stories of the soldiers who gave it all.

Through multiple tours, including access to the Battleship Missouri, where the Japanese signed the official surrender documents, and the Bowfin submarine, visitors will get a detailed look into the lives of the sailors on board and what it took to run each vessel. A more somber stop, over the wreckage of the USS Arizona, introduces visitors to the “Black Tears of the Arizona” still leaking from the vessel’s cracked hull.

National World War II Memorial

Washington, DC plays host to this incredibly detailed site that serves as a commemoration of the men and women who helped bring an end to World War II. It’s a representation of the will and strength of the United States forces that helped them push hard against their enemies. The Freedom Wall, the Field of Stars, the Memorial Plaza, and the various sculptures spread throughout are a great reminder of the American resistance to the forces that threaten the sanctity of the country’s freedom.

National World War II Memorial

National D-Day Memorial

A turning point in the war, D-Day, or the Allied invasion of Normandy, was an important push against German forces. During the invasion, over 425,000 soldiers were affected, 209,000 of them being Allied casualties. To pay tribute to the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944, the city of Bedford, VA erected a 50-acre memorial. Over 4,413 names of Allied soldiers can be found throughout the memorial, which is made up of an English Garden, relics of the invasion, and Victory Plaza.

Oral and self-guided tours are available to visitors, providing an in-depth look into the difficult battle Allied soldiers faced the moment they sailed into Normandy.

Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial Park

The iconic structure in Newington, CT pays tribute to the success of the Battle of Iwo Jima amidst the Iwo Jima Survivors Memorial Park. Commemorating the victory over Japanese forces, the memorial is a solid reproduction of the iconic raising of the American flag photograph. A black marble pedestal features an eternal flame while monuments scattered throughout pay tribute to combat Medical Corps and chaplains.

On the base of the statue are the names of the one hundred Connecticut men who gave their lives along with nearly seven thousand others protecting their country during the battle of Iwo Jima.

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