The World War II Memorial

United In A Just And Common Cause

Senator Robert J. Dole, 33°, Grand Cross
National Chairman
World War II Memorial Campaign
PO Box 96766
Washington, DC 20090–6766

Photo: Memorial Arch viewed from the Plaza; Architectural rendering, Advanced Media Design; Architectural Design, Frederich St. Florian, Architect 

Exciting progress continues to be made in raising funds for the World War II Memorial to be located on the Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Scottish Rite Freemasons have pledged their support to the World War II Memorial in helping to raise money for its completion.

As the list of both individual and corporate donors continues to grow, I am reminded of the determined spirit of the World War II generation and those who united to serve on the home front as well as on the battlefield. Life changed drastically for all Americans as the country moved from a peacetime to a wartime economy.

American industrial and agricultural production mobilized human and natural resources as never before or since. Industrial employees worked an average of 90 hours per week, and 18.7 million men and women joined the work force to produce ships, tanks, planes, ammunition, and weapons. American farmers performed their own miracles. Despite a 10 percent decrease in farm labor, increases in livestock and crop output resulted in 36 percent growth in farm productivity during the war. U.S. government programs were created to ensure that food distribution met both military and civilian needs, and rationing limited consumption of the scarcest commodities, such as gasoline, sugar, meats, and butter. The home front was prompted to be resourceful, and many townspeople patriotically tended their own "victory gardens." I am sure that many of you remember books of red and blue ration stamps and the shortages that the civilian population experienced.

It is fitting that the World War II Memorial will acknowledge the achievements, labors, and sacrifices of the entire nation. As we united in the war effort, we are united once again in the effort to build this memorial. I thank you all for your continued support.

The Vision

On November 11, Veterans Day, 1995, President Clinton dedicated the future site of the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The World War II Memorial will be the first national monument honoring both the commitment of the entire nation and the heroic efforts of all Americans who fought to defend the cause of liberty during the most destructive conflict in human history.

The dedication of the Memorial marked the culmination of the hopes and dreams of the many Americans for whom the creation of such a Memorial was long overdue. In more recent years, many individuals and veterans groups took up the charge to build a national monument to the Second World War. But it took one especially persistent veteran, World War II Army veteran Roger Durbin of Ohio, to make it happen.

After a visit to Washington, D.C., Roger Durbin asked his U.S. Representative, Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), why there was no national memorial in our nation’s capital to honor the brave men and women who served in World War II. Kaptur took Durbin’s pleas to Capitol Hill where, after ten years of her advocating this legislation, the United States Congress passed Public Law 103-32 authorizing the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to lead the public and private efforts that will fulfill this historic vision.

The capital city is home to many monuments and statues honoring Americans who have served their country in war and in peace. Now there will be a single monument that signifies to the world what the forces of freedom and democracy, through great moral strength and awesome power, did to conquer the forces of tyranny.

The Site

The National World War II Memorial is to be built on one of America’s preeminent public spaces, at the Rainbow Pool on the Mall in our nation’s capital. This commanding location is fully commensurate with the lasting historical importance of World War II.

The Memorial will be flanked by two of America’s most cherished landmarks, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, both of which mark other turning points in our nation’s history: the Revolutionary War, represented by the Washington Monument, created our nation; the Civil War, represented by the Lincoln Memorial, was fought to preserve its unity. Now, the World War II Memorial will take its rightful place in history by symbolizing a preserving of freedom and democracy by our country and its emergence as the leader of the Free World. The memorial’s historic site, a 7.4-acre rectangular plot of land and water at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, was selected by the American Battle Monuments Commission and approved by the Commission on Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission.

The Design

The World War II Memorial will stand through the ages as a timeless symbol of our nation’s unity in the pursuit of a just and common cause. It will embody, both physically and symbolically, the collective will of the American people to defend the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Encircling the Rainbow Pool on our nation’s Mall, the Memorial will be profoundly respectful of the historical site on which it will be built and fully preserve the majestic vista stretching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. The Memorial’s central focus will be a reconstituted Rainbow Pool and a Memorial Wall flanked by cascading waterfalls. The plaza surrounding these elements will become a future site for commemorative ceremonies, memorial events, and other gatherings.

Friedrich St. Florian, whose design was selected from among 400 submissions in an open competition involving architects from across the country, is integrating the World War II Memorial into the National Mall, while giving it an identity all its own. The Memorial will be of extraordinary quality, symbolic meaning, and architectural beauty. It will champion the people and time that it commemorates, while quietly fitting into the dramatic and historical landscape of its surroundings.

Donor Acceptance

Just as it took the nation’s collective will to triumph in World War II, so, too, will it take this country’s wholehearted support to create a fitting tribute. The American Battle Monuments Commission and the Memorial Advisory Board have set a goal of $100 million as the amount necessary to create the World War II Memorial. To accomplish this goal, the ABMC must rely on the collective support of the American public to raise the money necessary for the Memorial’s completion.

Senator Robert J. Dole in the early 1940s as a United States Army enlisted man before he obtained his commissioned rank

The legacy of World War II continues to be felt by every American in ways both large and small. Its effects are manifested in every aspect of daily life, from the freedoms we hold dear and the technological advances made possible by wartime scientific research, to the leadership role played by the United States in global business and diplomacy.

The building of the World War II Memorial signals the opportunity for Americans today to finally pay proper tribute to the generation that led our nation to such victory. It is a tribute these remarkable and courageous Americans rightfully deserve.

Your commitment to this Memorial will signify your recognition of the sacrifice that 16 million veterans and countless citizens on the home front made to keep our nation free. To become part of this heroic effort, please contact the American Battle Monuments Commission for more information or send a contribution to:

The World War II Memorial Fund
c/o The American Battle
Monuments Commission
Attn: FM01, PO Box 96766
Washington, DC 20090–6766

Robert J. Dole
is a member of Russell Lodge No. 177, Russell, Kansas, and, since December 10, 1966, the Salina, Kansas, Scottish Rite Bodies. Citing his "outstanding loyalty to Masonry and its principles," he was invested with the rank of K.C.C.H. in 1971, elected an Inspector General Honorary in 1975, and honored with the Grand Cross by The Supreme Council, 33°, in 1993. His portrait (see front cover) was donated to the Scottish Rite Hall of Honor in the House of the Temple in 1997 by the Brethren of the Orient of Kansas and reads: "Decorated Veteran, World War II; U.S. Congressman and Senator from Kansas, 1961–96; Majority and Minority Leader, U.S. Senate; Nominee for United States President, 1996; Humanitarian and Philanthropist."