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Introduction

January 2000

The World War II Memorial Defaces a National Treasure

The World War II Memorial now being built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., drives a wedge between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, breaking the connection between the nation's two most prominent symbols of democracy.

World War II Memorial

A gigantic granite plaza -- the length of a football field is being inserted into the open space at the Rainbow Pool, at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool in the heart of our Nation's Capital. The 7.4-acre Memorial will be sunken six feet below ground and ringed by 56 17-foot-tall pillars and two stone arches the height of a four-story office building. The Memorial will form a vertical screen filling the center of the Mall.

The Mall is a national gathering place for enjoyment and protest. This Memorial will restrict, if not prohibit, major future public gatherings. Room will not exist for the 250,000 people who marched on Washington and heard Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963 or for the crowds who participated in the nationwide "Hands Across America" in 1986. Pedestrians will no longer be able to walk directly through this open space between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, because it will be blocked by the Memorial's high walls and waterfalls. {See photos in "Nevermore" section).

An appropriate World War II Memorial needs to be constructed -- but not on this historic site! It is inconceivable that the members of the generation that won World War II would support this ill-conceived plan if they were aware of its devastating impact on the center of the Mall.

The Rainbow Pool Tomorrow?

The Rainbow Pool Tomorrow?

The Rainbow Pool site is no empty area waiting to be filled. The spectacular open space was designed in 1912 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. The area includes the Rainbow Pool along with the abutting rectangular-shaped Reflecting Pool and the two rows of specially planted elm trees.

This radical proposal departs from the concept of open vistas that has guided city planners in Washington, D.C., since it was first proposed in 1791 by Pierre L'Enfant and realized and extended by the McMillan Plan of 1901-1902.

The site selection process was distorted by backroom maneuvering and a deliberate denial of public participation. A prominent location on the Mall north of the Reflecting Pool and opposite the Vietnam Memorial was originally selected. But the Memorial was moved to the Rainbow Pool site less than two months later and without proper public notice.

No environmental study has been conducted to measure the impact on the Mall and the city by the proposed design that includes 56 pillars and large expanses of stone.

In addition, the design violates the National Historic Preservation Act by adversely changing this historic area.

The center of the National Mall, like all great works of art, should be left untouched. Please act today and help us preserve this national treasure for future generations of Americans!




The World War II Memorial
• Timeline
• The Design
• The Controversy
• What We Proposed
• Why We Fight On
• Environmental Risks
• Article Outlines Risks
• Letters
   • EPA
   • DC Governemt
   • Park Police
   • Council on Environmental Quality
• Construction Photos

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