After two and one-half years of construction, the World War II Memorial will open on the Mall in Washington next week. Photos of the memorial are now available; here are a couple. The first is taken from the Washington Monument:
This one shows the monuments Freedom Wall; each of the wall’s 4,000 4 1/2 inch gold stars represents 100 American servicemen who died in the war:
The Washington Post has a nice article on the completion of the project: “For Memorial Crew, It’s More Than Just a Job.”
UPDATE: Reader Chris Stacy adds some perspective:
Look at the single column of stars closest to you. That single column of stars represents well over twice the number of American
servicemen killed in Iraq in the past year.
That single column of stars represents the number of casualties we suffered roughly every six days — week in, week out, for almost four years — during WII. At the casualty rate we have suffered in Iraq over the past year, it would take well over 600 years to fill this wall with stars.
In your mind, line 62 of these walls up, end to end (that’s somewhere close to a mile long). That’s roughly the number of people who live in Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas. That’s the number of people that are no longer ruled over by Saddam Hussein.
For the benefit of the esteemed Mr. Blix, that wall could also represent the estimated number of Iraqi citizens that Saddam Hussein put into mass graves in the past 10 or 15 years.