Our nation’s soldiers are celebrated heroes, with stories that reach the hearts and minds of the young and old. Whether you’re a veteran yourself who fought alongside those who we’ve lost, or you’re a student learning about these wars and battles from the pages of a textbook, memorials help provide additional insight into our country’s history. With Memorial Day around the corner, we give you four memorials worth visiting to reflect, remember and commemorate.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial
Korean War Memorial D.C. | ©jstravelchannel/Flickr
Upon arriving, soldiers dressed in stainless steel greet you, set in stances that suggest that they’re on their way to something important. Moving through the bushes, they stand alongside walls sandblasted with commemorative images and a shallow Remembrance Pool for reflection.
Constructed in Washington, D.C. and dedicated in 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial honors all those who served in the Korean War. This battle between North and South Korea took place from June 1950 to July 1953.
The National World War II Museum
Boeing US Freedom Pavilion | ©Robert Karma/Flickr
The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
US Marine Corps War Memorial | ©Brook Ward/Flickr
Bronze soldiers gather to raise a flag in this memorial monument honoring all United States Marine Corps personnel, across 624 acres, who have lost their lives in active duty since the Civil War in the 1770s.
The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial has sat on a pedestal outside the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia since its 1954 dedication. The pedestal base is engraved with the phrase: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
A Historic Stroll Around Charleston, South Carolina
The Middleton Plantation near Charleston, SC | ©Dave Kern/Flickr
Tour historic Charleston and see with your own eyes the places where some of the most major battles of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were fought. From Antebellum mansions to former plantations to battlegrounds to historic cemeteries, Charleston is a city haunted with charm as well as war history.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Gettysburg’s Pennsylvania Monument | ©Craig Fildes/Flickr
The Battle of Gettysburg was a significant turning point in the Civil War, as it was the first major defeat suffered by the Confederacy. The battle is remembered at Gettysburg National Military Park, where visitors can tour the battlefield (now speckled with monuments and cannons) and visit the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
Composed of 5,989 acres of land, the park also provides ample opportunities to hike, bike, horseback ride and more. Visit the official website of the Gettysburg National Military Park for more things to see and do on your trip to the battlefield.
USS Arizona Memorial 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony | ©DVIDSHUB/Flickr
The attack on Pearl Harbor, Oahu was a surprise military strike against the United States naval base by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service on December 7, 1941; known forever as “A date which will live in infamy”. Pearl Harbor has the historic sites of the USS Arizona, the USS Missouri, the USS Bowfin and the Pacific Aviation Museum, all of which can be toured.
The USS Arizona marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines who were killed on board. The memorial is accessible only by boat and rests on the sunken hull of the Arizona without actually touching it. Historical information about the attack, shuttle boats to and from the memorial, and general visitor services are available at the Visitor Center. To this day, oil can still be seen leaking out from the battleship below.
Historic Travel Quick Tip
As you visit these memorials, try to take away one fun fact about the event, person or people the memorial represents—expand your knowledge of our nation’s history!
Share your historic travel experiences in the comments below!