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World War 2 Memorial Tour

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The World War 2 Memorial monument is dedicated to the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, both on the front lines and at home.

Authorized by President Bill Clinton in May 1993, the monument sprawls across  7.4-acres, facing the Lincoln Memorial from the east end of the National Mall. Its vastness is breathtaking and perfectly captures the immense sacrifices made by our national heroes.

The public wasn’t able to see the World War II Memorial until early 2004, but the long wait was worth it. The Rainbow Pool serves as an impressive centerpiece in the elliptical plaza, with plenty of fountains and water jets for photo opportunities. More than a tourist hot spot, the WW2 Monument is a place for commemorating the fallen, while celebrating the country they helped shape for the rest of us.

Join us for a World War II Memorial tour during the day, or marvel at it during the nighttime with our new Moonlight Tour. Read on to learn some captivating facts about the WW2 Monument and get excited about booking your tour:

World War II Memorial Facts

  • The Memorial Park was officially opened in April 2004, a month ahead of schedule, to accommodate elderly veterans.

  • The pool was built before the monument, which sparked controversy because the World War II memorial took up space that was previously used for public demonstrations and gatherings.

  • There are two sides (north and south) of the memorial, representing the Atlantic and Pacific fronts. The Atlantic and Pacific arches each host 4 American bald eagles, each holding a laurel wreath in their beaks, a symbol of victory and peace.

  • Entering the memorial’s semi-circle from the east, visitors are presented with two walls with scenes from the war in bronze relief.

  • 56 columns surround the fountain, listing U.S. states, commonwealths, and territories whose men and women served under the U.S. flag during WW II. These states and territories are arranged in order that they became part of the United States and alternate from side to side, starting with Delaware and Pennsylvania.

  • The Freedom Wall is an arched wall bearing 4,048 gold stars, each of which honors 100 American military deaths in the war.  Every visitor is greeted with an inscription that reads “Here we mark the price of freedom.”

  • There are two "Kilroy was here" inscriptions hidden in the memorial. Can you find them both?

  • The World War II Memorial is free and open to the public 24/7. However, the sharp fountain heads and lights present a risk, so the pool is restricted.

  • Out of 400 designs submitted for the Memorial, it was the Austrian-American architect Friedrich St. Florian that won.

  • The World War II Memorial is made of more than 17,000 granite stones from South Carolina, Georgia, the Rio Verde, and Moss Green in Brazil.

  • There is a 12-member board in charge of fundraising the memorial, with most donations coming from veterans.

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The World War II Memorial Today

Today, the monument attracts a variety of tours for everyone interested in learning more about its rich history. Most visitors leave feeling grateful and contemplative. There is very limited street parking nearby, which makes bus tours ideal for experiencing this spot worry-free. Nearby popular attractions include the Washington Monument, the MLK Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial (featuring 19, 7-feet tall stainless steel statues), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.


Join One of Our US Capitol Tours

The World War 2 Memorial is an important stop of our DC Tours. Guests are able to fully enjoy the experience by hopping on and off the bus to take pictures and explore. Visit the WW2 Monument during our daily bus tours, or see the US Capitol at night with our new Moonlight Tour. Contact us today to book your tour.


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