Memorial Park in Washington, D.C.

memorial park

Memorial Park offers visitors an atmosphere of natural beauty, peace for quiet meditation and a sense of dignity and honor to the memory of loved ones. This is accomplished through the synthesis of cultural and ecological landscape elements.

Using innovative construction techniques the building materials are treated to reveal their natural qualities. The design also repurposes historic elements found within the site’s cultural landscape.

The History of Memorial Park

The Memorial Park is the main municipal park of the City and is heavily used for passive recreation. It contains the City’s only community garden and is home to Boeckman Creek.

The land that comprises Memorial Park became a park on July 25, 1920. At that time the deed recorded a transfer from Mr. Nicholas Jacobus Field to his widow Sophia of Sub X of Lot O containing 360 acres and 1 rood and 14 perches.

The first monument added to the Park in the new century was the Submariners Memorial. This monument paid tribute to those men and women who served in submarines during World War Two. This monument also is unique in that it recognizes those who lost their lives while on Eternal Patrol and is one of only two in the United States to do so. The Memorial Park has many more monuments and markers that honor our veterans, past and present.

The Memorial Walls

Unlike most memorial monuments that rise above the landscape, this wall lies close to the ground. It consists of two identical walls, each 246 feet long with 72 panels for listing names (numbered 1E through 70E and 1W through 70W).

The Wall is not a traditional burial site, but rather it provides a setting where life celebrations occur within a peaceful park-like environment. The Wall is complemented by a statue of three servicemen, which was added in 1984, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial which was unveiled in 1993.

A special feature of the Memorial Wall allows visitors to do name rubbings, a tradition that honors a loved one by placing paper over recessed lettering and scraping with the tip of a pencil or other object. Many families visit The Wall to find their loved ones’ names and then make a rubbing as a keepsake. If you can’t locate a specific name, ask a National Park Ranger for assistance.

The Gold Star Monument

The Gold Star Monument is dedicated to those who have lost a family member in the military. The monument is a symbol of patriotism and reminds us that there are those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

A committee of local citizens and two 501 c3 non-profits, the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation and the Major Brent Taylor Foundation raised $100,000 for this project. Local elected officials and businesses also contributed to the effort.

Jennie Taylor, whose husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2018, served as the main driving force for this monument to be built. She hopes the monument will provide families with some measure of closure and a reminder that their community hasn’t forgotten them. A “Gold Star Family” is defined as a mother, father, stepmother or stepfather, wife, child, adopted or foster child, brother or sister, half brother or sisters, aunt, uncle or cousin who has lost a loved one in service to the nation.

The Peace Statue

Located in the Peace Circle on the Capitol grounds, the 44 foot tall white marble monument was built from 1877 to 1878 in honor of naval deaths at sea during the American Civil War. The statue has become a central gathering place for people who wish to send their message of peace through art and symbolism.

In Berlin, where more than half the city’s citizens have a migration background and the Statue of Peace was installed, activists fight to counter a nationalist discourse that claims that only European victims deserve memorials and to challenge the idea that sexual violence has a country of origin. For this purpose, the empty chair that invites anyone to sit next to the girl allows new links and associations.

WGCW uses the space around the statue for demonstrations, conferences, vigils, music and dance performances, podcasts and vlogs (video blogs) and projects with local schools. It also serves as a COVID-safe space for meetings when it is not possible to gather inside.

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