American Military Heritage

The National Park Service has the honor of preserving battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of American veterans. What better way to honor those who served their country than to visit a national park that preserves the places where they fought? Discover the National Park Services sites below, arranged by the war they commemorate:

You can also find a national cemetery administered by the National Park Service.

French & Indian War

This was a seven-year struggle between Great Britain and France for control of North America. It paved the way for the American colonists' fight for their independence from Great Britain a generation later.

Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Pennsylvania

American Revolution

Fought from 1775 through 1783, America's Revolutionary War resulted in the independence of the United States of America. Battles were fought from Maine to Florida and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. Places such as Bunker Hill, Cowpens and Yorktown entered the American consciousness and lexicon, and are today preserved by the National Park Service, allowing visitors to stand in the spot where the Founding Fathers debated whether to break away from England, or where patriots fought.

War of 1812

The American leaders who declared war on Great Britain in 1812 firmly believed they were beginning a second war of independence and, although the United States failed to achieve many of its war aims (including the conquest of Canada), the War of 1812 confirmed American nationhood and secured a new respect for the infant republic among the powers of Europe.

Mexican-American War

The Mexican-American War was fought from 1846 to 1848, sparked in part by the U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park preserves the site of the conflict's first battle and provides an understanding of the causes, events, and consequences of the first war between independent republics.

Civil War

From 1861 to 1865, the American union was broken as brother fought brother in a Civil War that remains a defining moment in our nation's history. Its causes and consequences, including the continuing struggle for civil rights for all Americans, reverberate to this day. From the war's outbreak at Fort Sumter, to the largest battle fought at Gettysburg, to the closing chapter at Appomattox Court House, more than 40 Civil War battlefields are preserved by the National Park Service.

American Indian Wars

During the late 19th century, as the United States sought to expand its territory further and further west, a policy of removing the American Indians from tribal lands was adopted. The resulting distrust and broken promises ultimately led to violence, and more than 1,500 armed conflicts were fought during the Indian wars. Today, the National Park Service preserves several of the battlefield sites of the Indian War and interprets its effect on native peoples and their cultures.

World War I

The United States joined World War I on April 6, 2017. Although it was primarily a European war, many national parks have a World War I connection. Explore the parks linked to World War I.

World War II

More than 16 million Americans served in the armed forces during the global conflict that was World War II. However, like no American war fought before or since, the entire industrial, economic, and scientific capabilities of the United States were employed in winning the war. The National Park Service sites commemmorating World War II reflect both military and civilian contributions.

Cold War

The nearly 50-year period of political and military tension between the Western world and communist countries known as the Cold War led to the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons by both sides. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site tells the story of these weapons that not only held the power to destroy civilization, but also served as a nuclear deterrent which maintained peace and prevented war.

Korean War

From 1950 to 1953, the United States joined with United Nations forces in Korea to take a stand against what was deemed a threat to democratic nations worldwide. At war's end, a million and a half American veterans returned to a peacetime world of families, homes, and jobs - and to a country long reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. Dedicated in 1992, the Korean War Veterans Memorial commemorates those who served in the conflict.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial serves as a testament to the sacrifice of American military personnel during one of this nation's least popular wars. The memorial consists of three distinct sections—"The Wall," the three servicemen statue and flagpole, and the women in service to the Vietnam War statue. The purpose of this memorial is to separate the issue of the sacrifices of the veterans from the U.S. policy in the war, thereby creating a venue for reconciliation for this divisive conflict.

Last updated: November 13, 2023