National Park Service


Revised 03/14/2001


NEW MEMORIALS UPDATE contact: 202-619-7400


In 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated, it had created substantial controversy during the site selection and design approval stages. Further, it generated other proposals for military memorials in the Nation's Capital. In response to those concerns, the commemorative Works Act of 1986 was passed to define what subject matter could be authorized as well as a process for site and design approvals. The Act recognized the limits of open space in the monumental core area and environs of Washington, D.C., and provided standards for placement of new works on Federal land under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and the General Services Administration. The Act ensured that the contributions of persons and events of lasting or preeminent historical significance to the Nation are appropriately honored.

The Act delegated review and approval authority to the Commission of Fine Arts, National Capital Planning Commission and the Secretary of the Interior on new memorial locations and designs. The Act stipulated that legislation must be enacted to authorize placement of a monument on lands identified within the Act. In 1991, the time limit for establishing a memorial under a single authorization was extended by amendment to the Act from 5 years to 7 years.

The following memorials have been authorized and not yet completed:

Air Force Memorial

Public Law 103-163 of Dec. 2, 1993 authorized establishment of an Air Force Memorial. In July 1995, a site was approved near Arlington National Cemetery between the Netherlands Carillon and the U.S. Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial. The site is near Fort Myer where Orville Wright in 1908 first demonstrated flight to military observers. A design concept for the new memorial was approved, but preliminary and final designs have not been submitted for review by the National Capital Planning Commission, the Commission of Fine Arts or the National Park Service. A site dedication was held Sept. 18, 1997, on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the military. The National Park Service solicited comment in January 1999 on an environmental assessment of the 25-acre site. On October of 2000, Congress extended the authorization for another five years. Contact Col. Peter Lindquist, Air Force Memorial Foundation, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington Virginia 22209-1198 (703-247-5808).


Benjamin Banneker Memorial

A memorial to Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was authorized by P.L. 105-355 enacted Nov. 6, 1998. Banneker was an astronomer, mathematician, author of almanacs, civil rights proponent and clockmaker. The memorial is to be sited on the L'Enfant Promenade, SW, which is under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. The cost of the memorial must be covered by private donations. Inquires may be directed to the memorial sponsors, the Washington Interdependence Council, 2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 225, Washington, DC 20006; Ms Peggy Seats, Executive Director, at 202-387-3380.

Black Revolutionary War Patriots Memorial

This memorial was authorized in 1986 to honor the estimated 5,000 black soldiers and sailors who served in the American Revolution, as well as the tens of thousands of slaves who ran away to freedom and filed petitions for liberty. The memorial would be placed on a one-half acre site in Constitution Gardens on the south side of Constitution Lake directly across from the Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence. The site was approved in 1988. The memorial's sculptural element by Edward Dwight, Jr., approved in 1991, calls for two curving and rising walls that form a below-grade, paved plaza. The north wall of bronze bas-relief sculpture depicts men, women, and children in acts of Revolutionary War patriotism and courage. As the wall ascends, the relief sculpture gradually increases in keenness, depth, and height, until the figures emerge free-standing and life-size. The companion granite wall to the south will contain quotations by black patriots. The cost of the memorial must be covered by private donation. Authorization for the memorial was extended to October 1998, then to October 2000 and again to 2005. Inquiries may be directed to Mr. Mark Gresham, President, Black Revolutionary War Patriots Foundation; 202-452-1776; 1612 K Street, NW, Suite 1104; Washington, D.C. 20006-2802.

Frederick Douglass Memorial Garden

As of Nov. 12, 2000, Frederick Douglass Gardens Inc. has legislative authority to establish in the District of Columbia a memorial garden to Frederick Douglass, the 19th century civil rights leader. The sponsor's preferred site for the memorial is on land under jurisdiction of the National Park Service at Poplar Point on the Anacostia River in southeast Washington, DC, adjacent to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Douglass' home, Cedar Hill, is preserved nearby as a national historic site. The planning for this area is part of the Anacostia River Initiative, which will be completed in the winter of 2001-02. The next step in the process is the study of alternative sites.


George Mason Memorial

Public Law 101-358 of August 10, 1990 authorized a memorial in honor of George Mason who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which were included in the U.S. Constitution as the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights. The legislation authorized the memorial to be established by the Board of Regents of Gunston Hall Plantation, Mason's home at Mason Neck, VA, on the Potomac River. The Board of Regents manages the plantation as an historic site of the Commonwealth of Virginia. A site near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the foot of a span of the 14th Street Bridge named for George Mason was approved in 1959. The design was approved July 2000 by the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts. At groundbreaking ceremonies Oct. 18, 2000 it was announced that the memorial will feature a bronze figure of George Mason modeled by Wendy M. Ross of Bethesda, MD. The memorial is expected to be completed by late autumn of 2001. Inquiries may be directed to the Board of Regents of Gunston Hall (Thomas Lainhoff) at 703/550-9220; Gunston Hall; Lorton, Virginia 22039.

Martin Luther King Memorial

Public Law 104-333, approved Nov. 12, 1996 (110 Stat. 4157) authorized the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha to establish a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Nation's Capital. A key figure in the civil rights movement, Dr. King was a man of peace who left a profound legacy for all Americans. Dr. King was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest and largest African-American fraternity in the United States, established at Cornell University in 1906. In December 1999, the National Capital Planning Commission and Commission of Fine Arts approved the location of the memorial on a four-acre site on the west side of the Tidal Basin near the FDR Memorial. Following an international design competition, the foundation announced Sept. 13, 2000 the winning design by ROMA Design Group of San Francisco. The next step in the process is design concept review. A site dedication ceremony occurred on Dec. 4, 2000. The legislative authority to erect this memorial extends through November 12, 2002. Inquiries may be directed to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., 401 F Street NW, Suite 324, Washington, DC 20001; telephone 202-737-5420; < >.

Memorial to Thomas Paine

A memorial to Thomas Paine, the American Revolutionary War patriot, was authorized by Public Law 102-407 of Oct. 13, 1992. Legislative authority to locate the memorial within the National Mall and monumental core of the city was granted in 1994. Design plans have not been presented nor has a site for the memorial been selected. Public Law 106-113 of Nov. 29, 1999 extended the authority to establish the memorial to December 2003. Inquiries should be directed to Mr. David Henley of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association U.S.A. Memorial Foundation, 818 18th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20006, 202-872-1776.



National Peace Garden

Congress authorized this memorial in 1987. The waterfront site, approved in 1988, embraces 10-acres at Hains Point in Washington, D.C., about two miles south of the Jefferson Memorial. The concept of the garden by the landscape architecture firm of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey was approved July 1993. Visitors would enter the garden through a dense grove of trees leading to an open plaza with a pool. The plaza connects with an end plaza at the tip of Hains Point, which can be reached either along a formal, shaded walk or along meandering paths through smaller gardens and meadows. Hundreds of trees will be added and flowers planted seasonally. Authorization for the memorial was extended for three years to June 30, 1997, under Public Law (103-321) of August 26, 1994. The memorial was reauthorized for another 5 years in July 1998. Inquiries may be directed to the National Peace Garden Foundation 202/393-6248; c/o National Peace Corps Association, 1900 L Street NW., Suite 205; Washington, D.C. 20036.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial--addition

Public Law 106-214 authorizes the American Battle Monuments Commission to place a suitable plaque within the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The plaque, which can be no larger than 18 feet square, shall bear an inscription intended to honor those Vietnam veterans who died after their service in the Vietnam war, but as a direct result of that service, and whose names are not otherwise eligible for placement on the memorial Wall. Contact American Battle Monuments Commission, Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 501, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201, telephone (703) 696-6780.

World War II Memorial

President Bill Clinton and former Senator Bob Dole, along with many other dignitaries, spoke Nov. 11, 2000 at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new memorial at the Rainbow Pool on 17th Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Completion is scheduled for 2003. Authorized by law signed May 25, 1993, this memorial will honor those who served in uniform and those who served on the home front during World War II. The memorial, sponsored by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), would be funded primarily through corporate, foundation and private donations. Following public meetings, the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the National Park Service approved the Rainbow Pool site, at the eastern end of the reflecting pool. Friedrich St. Florian, former dean of the Rhode Island School of Design, won the ABMC's national design competition. On March 19, 1997, the ABMC announced that former Senator Bob Dole would chair the fund-raising campaign. On July 9, 1998, an amended design was submitted and approved by the NCPC and CFA.

The plan calls for lowering the existing pool, surrounding it with parapet walls and inscriptions and accenting the whole with two memorial arches on the north and south axis. In May of 1999, the CFA approved a number of design details including two towers to represent the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war, columns representing 48 states and eight territories at the time of World War II and eagles carrying laurel wreaths. The CFA gave final approval to the memorial July 20, 2000 after hearing objections from the National Coalition to Save Our Mall. The DC Historic Preservation Review Board approved the plans July 27, 2000.

The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation criticized the memorial's adverse visual impact on the Mall in a report received Sept. 6, 2000 by the Department of the Interior. However, the National Park Service response to that letter disagreed with their opinion, stating that the design had been reduced to avoid such concerns and had been approved by the NCPC and CFA. The NCPC voted its approval of the final design Sept. 21, 2000. The National Park Service issued a permit for construction Jan. 26, 2001. The National Coalition to Save Our Mall has filed a lawsuit to halt construction. Contact <> or Mr. Mike Conley, Director of Public Affairs, American Battle Monuments Commission, Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 501, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201, telephone (703) 696-6780.


Recently completed memorials in Washington, D.C. are listed as follows:

African American Civil War Memorial

The centerpiece of the memorial to African Americans in the Civil War is a bronze sculpture, The Spirit of Freedom, by Ed Hamilton of Louisville, Kentucky. Low curving walls bear 157 metal panels engraved with the names of 209,148 African American troops and their white officers who served in the Union Army. The sculpture was unveiled during ceremonies July 18, 1998. The memorial is located above the Green Line Metro Station at Vermont Avenue and U Street, NW. The memorial was authorized Oct. 14, 1992. Construction is virtually complete and the memorial is awaiting transfer to the National Park Service to operate and maintain. Inquiries may be directed to African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, P.O. 73517, Washington, D.C. 20009; Project Director Lyndia Grant at 202-667-2667.

Francis Scott Key Memorial

The memorial park was dedicated Sep. 14, 1993, the anniversary of the "Star Spangled Banner" written by Francis Scott Key who witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 in Baltimore, Md. Key had traveled to Baltimore on behalf of a prisoner. His residence in Georgetown, a two-story, red brick house at 3518 "M" Street, was torn down in the 1940s during construction of Whitehurst Freeway. The park is located near the house site at the foot of Key Bridge within Georgetown Waterfront Park. It features extensive landscaping, a bronze bust of Key and 60-foot flagpole flying the American flag of 1814 with 15 stars and 15 stripes. A footpath descends from M Street to the towpath and re-watered section of C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

The memorial was dedicated May 2, 1997 as the 375th unit of the National Park System. President Bill Clinton gave the dedication address. It occupies seven acres along the famous cherry tree walk on the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Four outdoor rooms with granite walls, statuary, inscriptions, waterfalls and thousands of plants, shrubs and trees blend together in an artistic narrative of the period 1933-1945. Lawrence Halprin of San Francisco designed the Memorial. The bronze bas-relief, sculpture and stone inscriptions are by American artists Leonard Baskin, Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Thomas Hardy, George Segal and master stonecarver John Benson. The FDR Memorial takes its place of honor next to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Memorial as the fourth monument to an American president in the monumental core of the Nation's Capital.


Shortly after the memorial was dedicated, Public Law 105-29 signed July 24, 1997 directed the design and construction of an addition to provide recognition of the fact that "President Roosevelt's leadership in the struggle by the United States for peace, well-being and human dignity was provided while the President used a wheelchair." A committee appointed at the direction of President Clinton announced its recommendation July 2, 1998 that the main entrance to the Memorial be re-configured to create an additional outdoor "room" of granite with a bronze, human-scale statue of FDR in the small wheelchair he invented. The composition was created by the memorial's designer Lawrence Halprin, stone carver John Benson and sculptor Robert Graham, who created the First Inaugural and Social Programs elements of the Memorial. The addition was dedicated Jan. 10, 2001. Inquiries should be directed to Mr. John Parsons, Associate Regional Director for Lands, Resources and Planning, National Capital Region, National Park Service, 1100 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20242; telephone 202-619-7025.


Korean War Veterans Memorial

The memorial was dedicated July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice. The memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial on the south side of the reflecting pool at Independence Avenue and Daniel French Drive. The memorial includes 19 sculptures of soldiers arrayed before a black granite wall etched with images taken from wartime photos. The American flag flies at the apex of the memorial near a circular reflecting pool.


Mahatma Gandhi Memorial

The memorial to Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who led India to freedom from British rule in 1947 and is hailed as the father of the nation, was dedicated Sept. 16, 2000 by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Bill Clinton. Located across from the Embassy of India at 21st and Q Streets and Massachusetts Avenue NW, the memorial consists of a full-size, bronze sculpture of Gandhi raised on a circular platform surrounded by a bench and three stone tablets inscribed with quotations and a sketch of his life. The statue was created by sculptor Gautam Pal of Calcutta, India. The site plan preserves a weeping beech tree that has occupied the site for 80 years. According to memorial sponsors, Gandhi was influenced by American writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and, in turn, influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. in developing the principles of non-violent resistance. Public Law 105-284 of Oct. 26, 1998 authorized the Government of India to establish the memorial as a gift to the United States. They also will maintain the statue and plaza in perpetuity.


National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism

The National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, authorized by Public Law 102-502 signed Oct. 24, 1992, is located at Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues and D Street, NW. Although it was dedicated Nov. 9, 2000, it will not be open to the public until spring of 2001 as some of the memorial elements are still under construction. The memorial honors the loyalty and courage of Japanese Americans during World War II, many of whom fought and died in defense of their country. Some 120,000 men, women and children maintained their loyalty on the home front despite the abridgement of their civil rights, including being required to live in internment camps for as much as four years. Contact the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, 1920 N Street NW Suite 660, Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone 202-861-8845.


National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, dedicated in 1991, honors all of America's federal, state and local law enforcement officers. The names inscribed on the Memorial's marble walls are those of more than 14,500 officers who have been killed in the line of duty, dating back to the first known death in 1794. The Memorial, designed by architect Davis Buckley, is located on three acres of federal park land at Judiciary Square on E Street, between 4th and 5th Streets NW, Washington, D.C. The memorial landscape includes some 60,000 plants, 128 trees and a springtime display of some 14,000 daffodils. The entrance to the pathway beside the curved wall of remembrance is adorned with statues of an adult lion protecting its cubs. The memorial was established by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a private, nonprofit organization, which operates a visitor center at 605 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20004; telephone 202-737-3400.

Vietnam Women's Memorial

This memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 1993. The memorial was authorized November 1988, to be included within the area of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, and to honor the more than 10,000 women who served in the Vietnam conflict. Diane Carlson Evans, RN, founder of the sponsoring organization, was an Army nurse during the Vietnam War. The memorial features a heroic-size, bronze sculpture depicting three Vietnam Era women and a wounded soldier sculpted by Glenna Goodacre. The statue is situated in a grove of trees overlooking The Wall. Landscape architect George Dicky designed the site.

Women in Military Service for America

The memorial was dedicated Oct. 18, 1997. The memorial was authorized in 1986 to honor women's roles in national defense. It includes a registry of some of the 1.8 million women who have served in the Armed Forces, of whom there are 1.2 million women veterans still living. The memorial occupies the historic Hemicycle at the end of Memorial Drive near the main entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The Hemicycle was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White and dedicated in 1932. The design of the new memorial was developed from the winning entry in a 1989 national design competition submitted by the team of Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi of Weiss/Manfredi Architects of New York. Inquires continue to be directed to Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc., at 703/533-1155.


Editor's note: An electronic version of this press release can be seen at

03/14/2001 Background MEMORIALS.doc