What to See in D.C. – The WWII Memorial

The World War II Memorial is one of the few monuments available for easy bathing.

Not that you should do that.

At least not the fully-immersed form usually conjured by use of the word “bath.”

Though if you take baths by splashing your feet in a shallow, man-made water hole, then it will be a traditional experience.

The World War II Memorial is in the middle of the National Mall, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

If that site sounds familiar to you — and let’s face it, it doesn’t — it used to be the location of the Rainbow Pool.

Given the relative newness of the WWII Memorial (2004), it seems that I would remember that beautiful pool of prismatic colors.

Yet no matter how I rack my brain, I can only see an empty, grassy space.

Oh Rainbow Pool, I hardly knew ye.

The clear focus of the Memorial is the oval of pillars. Each pillar represents a province or state that fought for the U.S. in the war.

It took me years after the unveiling to figure out the order, but finally last year I succumbed and asked a park ranger.

Are you ready for this?

They’re arranged in the order they joined the union, starting on the Pacific side, and alternating front and back.

I can only assume this system was adopted to make only the most worthy visitor able to crack the code.

Thankfully, given my unworthiness, America’s Mounties were on hand to spill the secret.

(I acknowledge there’s probably little similarity between the Mounties and Park Rangers.)

(I’m truly only familiar with Mounties’ ability to rescue Nell.)

(And the fact they look quite spiffy in red.)

(It’s such a power color, don’t you think?)

(American equivalent (park rangers, policemen, swat team, sanitation workers – whichever most applies), take note.)

Of every detail of the monument, from the “Kilroy was Here” engraving to the exciting fountain display, there is one aspect that’s my unwavering favorite.

Coming down the Mall from the Capitol and the Washington Monument towards the Lincoln, the steps down into the WWII Memorial are lined on both sides with short walls.

You can just see the left wall in the above photo.

(Looking back, I probably could have done a better job getting a pictorial representation.)

Each small segment has small relief scenes of the war.

And they are, more than any other, the reason you should visit for yourself.

‘Cause I’m far too lazy to photograph all twenty-four.

It turns out I never learned how to spell Connecticut

So that was a lovely realization tonight.