It’s hard to believe that the National World War II Memorial was dedicated nearly ten years ago (May 29, 2004 to be precise). This memorial honors those members of the United States military who fought, those who died, and those who supported the war effort from home.
The Veterans History Project took the opportunity to hold a number of events and to interview thousands of men and women during the dedication weekend. You and your students can read or listen to many of these stories on the Veterans History Project website. Explore the themes or World War II Stories for examples.
Show students an image of the National World War II Memorial. Allow time for them to explore the imagery used in the memorial and note their observations, reflections, and questions on the Library’s primary source analysis tool.
- How do they compare to the National World War II memorial?
- In what ways do the memorials reflect how the designers felt about the war, the people that fought in the war, and how the people of the United States felt about the war?
- What imagery would they use if they were asked to design a memorial for veterans of World War II? For a more recent conflict?
Students can read or listen to one or more Veterans History Projects stories. How do the students think the soldiers feel about their experiences in World War II? Compare those the stories with those of veterans of other wars.
Let us know in the comments how students grapple with the question of what memorials represent and why we value them.