Korean War Veterans Memorial, 1995
The Korean War Veterans Memorial rests at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, directly across the Reflecting Pool from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. The project was dedicated by President Clinton in 1995, and now enjoys visitation by almost four million people a year.
The composition contains several integrated parts. The first component is called “The Field of Service”, and shows a group of 19 stainless steel ground troops moving cautiously up the hill. On the left of the group is a high curb identifying the 22 nations that gave aid and support to the United Nations effort in Korea from 1950 to 1953. On the right of the group is a thick granite wall, which from a distance appears to be etched with a series of snow capped mountains in Korea, but on closer inspection, the “mountains” are, in fact, made up of a composition of 2500 faces, taken from photos from our military archives, showing all the men and women needed to support our troops on the ground. There are nurses, truck drivers, pilots, sailors, chaplains, doctors, artillery men, and paratroopers. At the top of hill is a round, black reflecting pool, commemorating the men and women who gave their lives or were wounded or imprisoned. This is called The Pool of Remembrance. The pool is surrounded by a circular plaza with benches and trees as a place of contemplation, memory and tribute. As the granite wall penetrates the pool, there is a quotation cut deeply into the stone which states simply…”Freedom is not Free.”