National World War II Memorial

The National World War II Memorial is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool.  The memorial is dedicated to armed service members and civilians who served during World War II. The memorial opened and was dedicated in the Spring of 2004. It is administered by the National Park Service.

National World War II Memorial

The formal opening to the memorial is from the eastern side, down a wide walk between two walls.

On each wall is a series of 12 bas-relief scenes; the 24 panels show preparations for battle, famous combat scenes, death, prisoner release, the war efforts at home, and a joyous homecoming.

Many of the bas-relief scenes acknowledge women’s contributions to the war effort.

The center of the 7.4 acre site is an oval pool with fountains, surrounded by a plaza. This reflecting pool is the Rainbow Pool that was already in this location when the memorial was designed.


Around the edge of the plaza are 56 pillars; at the two ends are a pair of small triumphal arches inscribed “ATLANTIC” (at the north end) and “PACIFIC” (at the south end). The pillars form a semicircle at each end, centered on a triumphal arch.  The names on the pillars represent the United States in 1945, and include the 48 states, District of Columbia, Alaska Territory, Territory of Hawaii, Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On the western side of the memorial is the Freedom Wall. On this curved wall are gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in World War II.


The memorial also includes two engravings of “Kilroy was here,” one located behind a small golden gate next to the Pennsylvania pillar and the other behind a small golden gate next to the Delaware pillar.

The many fountains and waterfalls provide views toward other monuments on the National Mall.

For more information about the National World War II Memorial, visit