Korean War Veterans Memorial Dedicated 20 Years Ago Today


On this day in 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated.  Today is also the 62nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.  The Memorial was dedicated by President of the United States, Bill Clinton and the President of the Republic of Korea, Kim Young Sam.  The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated to the men and women who served during the three-year conflict.

On October 28, 1986, the Memorial was confirmed by Congress.  On June 14, 1992, President George H. W. Bush conducted the groundbreaking for the Memorial.  After completion, the Memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995.

Here are some interesting facts about the Korean War Veterans Memorial

– More than 1000 tons of Academy Black granite is used in the walls of the memorial.  The granite is highly polished and was transported from California to Washington, DC.

– The walls contains more than 2500 photographic archival images sand blasted into the wall, representing the land, sea, and air troops who supported those who fought in the war.  When wet by rain, the images seem to disappear.  As they dry, the images slowly appear on the wall.

– The main memorial is a triangle which intersects a circle.  Within the triangle in the “Field of Service”, there are 19 stainless steels statues which stand between 7 feet 3 inches and 7 feet 6 inches tall.  Each statue weighs nearly 1,000 pounds.

– The sculptor of the statues was Frank Gaylord and it is important to note that he did not sign away his intellectual property rights to the sculpture when it was erected.  In 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Court ruled on appeal that Frank Gaylord was entitled to compensation for a 37 cent postage stamp which used an image of the sculpture.

– The larger than life statues within the triangle represent a squad on patrol. You can learn more about each statue, where it is located within the formation, and what it represents in the chart below.

– Of the 19 statues which are dressed in full combat gear, 14 are from the U.S. Army, 3 are Marine Corps, 1 is a Navy Corpsman, and one is an Air Force Forward Air Observer.

– The statues which represents a squad on patrol are dispersed among strips of granite and juniper bushes, representing the rugged terrain of Korea.

– The statues are wearing ponchos which appear to be blowing in the cold winds of Korea.

– When the statues are reflected on the wall, there appears to be 38 Soldiers.  This “38” represents the 38th Parallel.

– The etchings on the wall appear to be lightly etched snow-capped mountains when viewing the Field of Service with the wall in the background.  As you get closer to the wall, the etchings appear to transform into faces and images.

– The United Nations Wall is located to the north of the statues and this wall lists the 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops or medical support to the Korean War effort.

– A Pool of Remembrance is located within the circle at the Memorial.  The pool is 30 feet in diameter and surrounded by a grove of linden trees which is shaped to create a barrel effect.  This allows the sun to reflect on the pool.

– The number of troops killed, wounded, missing in action and held as prisoners of was are inscribed by the Pool of Remembrance.  The numbers as listed on the Memorial are:

  • Dead — United States: 54,246, United Nations: 628,833
  • Wounded — United States: 103,284, United Nations: 1,064,453.
  • Captured — United States: 7,140, United Nations: 92,970.
  • Missing — United States: 8,177, United Nations: 470,267

– A plaque at the Korean War Veterans Memorial is inscribed with “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”

– The south side of the memorial has three bushes of the Rose of Sharon hibiscus which is South Korea’s national flower.

– A granite wall at the Memorial bears the message “Freedom Is Not Free”


Short documentary about the Korean War Veterans Memorial


The order of statues in the Field of Service:

Pos Service Duty Race Weapon
 1. Army Lead Scout Caucasian M-1
 2. Army Scout Caucasian M-1
 3. Army Squad Leader Caucasian M-1
 4. Army BAR Man Afro-American BAR
 5. Army BAR Asst Caucasian Carbine
 6. Army Rifleman Afro-American M-1
  7. Army Group Leader Caucasian Carbine
  8. Army Radio Operator Caucasian Carbine
  9. Army Army Medic Hispanic None
10. Army Forward Observer Caucasian Carbine
11. USAF Air-Ground Controller Caucasian Carbine
12. USMC Asst Gunner Caucasian Tripod
13. USMC Gunner Caucasian Mach Gun
14. Navy Corpsman Afro-American None
15. USMC Rifleman Asian-American M-1
16. Army Rifleman Caucasian M-1
17. Army Rifleman Hispanic M-1
18. Army Asst Group Leader Caucasian M-1
19. Army Rifleman Native American M-1

Aerial View of the Korean War Veterans Memorial


Freedom Is Not Free


View of the Field of Service with the sand blasted images in the background




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