View Full Version : At WWII memorial, a race against time

Apr 30, 2004, 04:35 PM
Tribute opens in D.C. as vets' ranks dwindle

By Anne E. Kornblut, Globe Staff *|* April 30, 2004

WASHINGTON -- There was a sad, if practical, reason behind the hasty opening of the national World War II Memorial here yesterday: Veterans from the era are dying so rapidly, at a rate of more than 1,000 a day, that many will not live to see their tribute.

And so, almost a month ahead of schedule, officials removed fences from around the sweeping marble landmark to let in the first members of the public. By lunchtime, the symmetrical promenade was filled with veterans and civilians of all ages, many relieved to be contemplating a war fought long in the past.

John ''Bud" Cunnally, 62, a Navy veteran from Dorchester who helps bring veterans to visit the Vietnam memorial, said he looks forward to bringing the older generation of veterans to the new memorial: ''It will have a calming effect."

When he joined the service in 1959, Cunnally said, he served on older submarines alongside veterans from WWII, many of whom stay in touch. Yesterday, he gathered fliers about the memorial to send to those who are too frail to travel. ''I wish it'd been here earlier," he said. ''They're too old now." Already, he added, so many of his veteran elders have died.


Apr 30, 2004, 07:23 PM
My grandfather Col. James T. White ret. would have loved to see this. he died of emphysema almost 20 years ago. Kinda makes you wonder why some bureaucracies drag their feet when it comes to recognizing the obvious. :mad:

Apr 30, 2004, 08:42 PM
I'm a charter member of the World War II Memorial Fund. Started contributing from the beginning. They sent me an invitation to attend the opening ceremony on Memorial Day. My thought is that the day is for the veterans.

I submitted my father, Army; mother, Army nurse; father-in-law, Army physician; and mother-in-law, on the home front. Only my father-in-law is still alive. There death rate is about 10,000 each month. I appreciate all their service, I'm free today because of those that choose to serve! :)

Apr 30, 2004, 09:15 PM
That is a great tribute. It is wonderful that those who fought so bravely for our freedom and our lives are finally getting the recognition they deserve!

There are no real winners when it comes to war, but there are heroes. I only hope that these men and women know how much they truly mean to America and how indebted we are to them. I hope you all join me in saluting all of America's fighting forces, especially those fighting today... I am proud to be an American because of them!

- reaper

Apr 30, 2004, 11:03 PM
I'm still surprised at the number of vets that actually fought against the memorial's placement on the Mall. It took massive amounts of humility to do that.

Chip NoVaMac
May 1, 2004, 12:33 AM
I wish both my Mom and Dad were alive to see this. My dad, SSGT. Joseph A. Lenkiewicz. Ret., would have appreciated the remembrance.

I am not sure, but I question the sacrifices that people like my Mom made during WWII (before she met my Dad). the town she lived in had a factory that most townies worked producing "spinners" for the aircraft fighters. Sort of "Rosie the Riveter". Even though most of the remaining town folk worked at the factory, they never acknowledged it outside of work. Since "loose lips, sink ships".

I hope that these individuals got at least a minor nod in the memorial, not just in the museum there.

Mr. Anderson
May 1, 2004, 06:00 AM
The opening day ceremonies will be better off watched on TV - its going to be a mad house down there. I'm hoping to go see it soon, since it open to the public a couple days ago....I'll post pics in the photo gallery :D


May 1, 2004, 11:48 AM
The opening day ceremonies will be better off watched on TV - its going to be a mad house down there. I'm hoping to go see it soon, since it open to the public a couple days ago....I'll post pics in the photo gallery :D


I don't really like crowds. I agree that it will be much better on TV, hopefully that will cover the event.

I look forward to your pictures, Mr. Anderson. Please let me know when there available. ;)

Chip NoVaMac
May 1, 2004, 03:45 PM
Add to that the Rolling Thunder will be the same weekend.

Mr. Anderson
May 1, 2004, 04:01 PM
Add to that the Rolling Thunder will be the same weekend.

Rolling Thunder is always nuts - the whole east parking lot of the Pentagon is used as a staging area for the 10s of thousands of bikers.....yes, that is a day to take the metro or stay away :D


May 28, 2004, 02:25 PM
D.C. memorial for 'greatest generation' opens

Monument on Mall honors vets of WWII

WASHINGTON -- Leaning against the gleaming Massachusetts pillar of the National World War II Memorial yesterday, George Desiderio, 79, proclaimed the National Mall's newest monument beautiful. But it was the long-ago image of a German foxhole that stuck in his head.

Desiderio, then an Army infantryman, was wounded in the bloody Battle of Hurtgen Forest, where some 24,000 Americans were killed, injured, or captured during the miserable German winter of 1944-45. He is now a retiree who lives in Everett, Mass. Joining tens of thousands of other veterans, Desiderio traveled with his wife, Nancy, to Washington this week to remember that courage and commitment to the cause of freedom and take part in the largest reunion of the ''greatest generation" since the end of World War II.

''I look at this beautiful memorial and say it's long overdue," said Desiderio, who commanded a disabled veterans group in Everett, worked for the Veterans Affairs Administration, and sent his son, George Jr., to West Point. ''I just wish some of my comrades who are gone now had seen it, because they would have appreciated it, too."

Officially, the celebration that opened yesterday does not dwell on the fact that it took 17 years, an act of Congress, a Supreme Court decision, a significant redesign, and $175 million in private funds to finally put a marker to the 16 million Americans who served in World War ll on the monument-studded Mall.


May 29, 2004, 12:37 PM
Taking generation of heroes to nation's heart

WWII Memorial to be dedicated today

This holiday has great meaning to me me, my father, mother, and father-in-law are among the greatest generation. An army soldier, nurse, & physician. Only my father-in-law is still alive. That generation sacrificed so that we might have our freedom today. I feel honored to have served also. My thoughts and prayers go out to to our soldiers and their families today.

Feel privileged to be a part of the World War II Memorial successful competition. I entered zippy's and my parents names into those that are being honored today.


We are privileged to have had those great men to lead in that time of crisis. One was my name sake, one was president, and one our future president. Men of service to country, the world, and future generations.

May 30, 2004, 07:56 PM
Bush salutes vets at WWII memorial

140,000 recall troops' sacrifices at D.C. ceremony

By Mary Leonard, Globe Staff *|* May 30, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Saluting the generation that sacrificed life for liberty and showed "the finest qualities of our nation and of humanity," President Bush yesterday dedicated a long-awaited memorial to World War II on the National Mall and told a huge audience of aging veterans that America was a stronger democracy because of their struggle 60 years ago.

"The bombs at Pearl Harbor destroyed the very idea that America could live in isolation from the plots of aggressive powers," Bush said, standing before the sweeping $175 million bronze-and-granite monument that took 17 years to erect. "The scenes of the concentration camps, the heaps of bodies, and the ghostly survivors confirmed forever America's calling to oppose the ideologies of death.

"As we defended our ideals, we began to see that America is stronger when those ideals are fully implemented," Bush told a crowd estimated by police at 140,000. The crowd included his father, former President George H.W. Bush, a World War II Navy pilot whose aircraft was shot down in the Pacific; former President Clinton, and Senator John F. Kerry, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee.


Half way down the page you can take an interative tour of the monument.