The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was dedicated on July 27, 1995.
The Memorial was designed and financed by private contributions and erected under the auspices of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board composed of Korean War veterans appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
The memorial commemorates the sacrifices of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed services during the three-year period of the Korean War.
The war was one of the most hard fought in our history. During its relatively short duration from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, 36,574 Americans died in hostile actions in the Korean War theater.
Of these, 8,200 are listed as missing in action or lost or buried at sea. In addition, 103,284 were wounded during the conflict. The Memorial consists of four parts.
The 19 stainless steel statues were sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, Vermont, and cast by Tallix Foundries of Beacon, New York. They are approximately seven feet tall and represent an ethnic cross section of America.
The advance party has 14 U.S. Army, three U.S.Marine Corps, one U.S. Navy and on U.S. Air Force members.
The statues stand in patches of Juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea.
The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment. The ponchos seem to blow in the cold winds of Korea.
The Mural Wall was designed by Louis Nelson of New York, New York, and fabricated by Cold Spring Granite Co., Cold Spring, Minnesota.
The muralist, sculptor and architect worked closely to create a two-dimensional work of art adjacent to the three-dimensional statues.
The wall consists of 41 panels extending 164 feet. Over 2,400 photographs of the Korean War were obtained from the National Archives. They were enhanced by computer to give a uniform lighting effect and the desired size.
The mural, representing those forces supporting the foot soldier, depicts Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel and their equipment.
The etchings are arranged to give a wavy appearance in harmony with the layout of the statues.
The reflective quality of the Academy Black Granite creates the image of a total of 38 statues, symbolic of the 38th Parallel and the 38 months of the war. When viewed from afar, it also creates the appearance of the mountain ranges of Korea.
The Memorial has a reflective pool which is at the far terminus of the Memorial site. It encircles the Freedom Is Not Free Wall and Alcove at the base of which are numerically listed the soldiery cost of the war in terms of KIA (Killed in Action), WIA (Wounded in Action), MIA (Missing in Action), and POW (Prisoners of War). The Pool is encircled by a walkway along which benches are located.
To the left of the Mural Wall is a walkway on which are engraved markers that list the 22 nations that contributed troops to the United Nations efforts in the Korean War.