World War I Memorial
You are standing in the National World War I Memorial. Before you is the American Expeditionary Forces Memorial, dedicated in 1981 to honor the American forces who served in Europe during the war and their commander, General John J. Pershing. In 2020 the memorial was expanded to honor not just the AEF but all Americans who served, including U.S. Navy sailors, Coast Guardsmen, men and women in uniform who did not serve in Europe, and those who served in civilian capacities.
To your right across a pool of water is the sculpture A Soldier's Journey, based on the myth of "the hero's journey" and representing the American experience of World War I, as described in one of the adjacent panels. On the reverse of the sculpture wall is the Peace Fountain, a cascade of water flowing over lines form the poem "The Young Dead Soldiers." The poem, a call to remember those killed in war and give meaning to their sacrifice, is by Archibald MacLeish, an artery captain in the war who later won three Pulitzer Prizes and served as the Librarian of Congress.
Interpretive panels along this wall describe American accomplishments
The final element of the memorial is a pair of quotations inscribed on planter boxes farther to your right. One, from Willa Cather's 1922 novel One of Ours, is a testament to the achievements and sacrifices of American armed forces in the war. The other, from Alta May Andrews of the Army Nurse Corps, speaks of her own pride in having a chance to serve, and more broadly for the contributions of all Americans — including women, African Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants — to the American war effort.
"We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning. We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us."
Erected 2021 by World War I Centennial Commission, American Battle Monuments Commission.
Topics. This historical marker and memorial is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Parks & Recreational Areas • War, World I. A significant historical year for this entry is 1981.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. World War I, 1914-1917 (here, next to this marker); Beyond the AEF (here, next to this marker); The AEF in the Great War, 1917-1918 (here, next to this marker); From Homefront to Battlefront (here, next to this marker); Americans All (here, next to this marker); A Soldier's Journey (here, next to this marker); Armistice and Legacy (here, next to this marker); World War I Remembered (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 78 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2. submitted on July 21, 2021, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. 3. submitted on April 18, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.