Assuming its rightful place of honor on the National Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial is an eloquent and moving tribute to “The Greatest Generation.” Sixteen million Americans served in the armed forces—more than 400,000 gave their lives—and millions supported the war effort from home, all in the name of protecting that which we, as Americans, hold most dear: freedom.
The World War II Memorial, published in conjunction with the dedication of this long-overdue memorial, commemorates the everyday Americans who in countless ways rose up to defeat one of history's gravest threats to freedom. Veterans—including George H.W. Bush, Sen. Daniel Inouye, former senators Bob Dole and George McGovern, Yogi Berra, and many, many others—contribute their own personal stories while leading historians look at the military campaigns of the war. The memorial's architect and its sculptor provide insights into how it symbolizes the fortitude and perseverance of a generation, and the exclusive photographs present the memorial through all stages of construction. Fittingly, this historic tribute falls in the 60th anniversary year of D-Day, a time when our nation once again reflects on its greatest sacrifice and greatest victory in the name of freedom.
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Douglas Brinkley is the Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans and author of Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.
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