June 13, 2003

The latest progress on the construction of the WWII Memorial – on the Mall –
as described by Mike Conley of the WWII Memorial

It has been awhile since I've sent you an update on the progress of the National World War II Memorial, and for that I apologize. But the news I share today is good.

We continue to make excellent progress at the construction site on the National Mall, as you can see in the attached photos. Most of the below ground work has been completed, the pouring of the concrete foundation slab continues, the rebuilding of the Rainbow Pool in the center of the memorial plaza is well underway, and granite installation on the perimeter is moving briskly.
The first of 17,000 pieces of granite was installed in early February, and you can see that most of the 56 pillars are completed and the north and south arches are taking shape.

The construction should be completed on schedule in March 2004, and we expect the memorial to be open to the public in early April.

The official dedication ceremony has been set for Saturday, May 29, 2004 – the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. A four-day dedication celebration is planned by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Planned events are spelled out in the attached release that we issued during a small wreath ceremony on the construction site on Memorial Day, marking the 12-month countdown to dedication.

While we know the events, there is still much planning to do. We will announce additional details on our web site (www.wwiimemorial.com) as they are confirmed, and we will provide you with more frequent updates as we move down the homestretch to dedication.

Registry of Remembrances
There is one important facet of the memorial project that I want to bring to your attention – the WWII Registry of Remembrances. The memory of America's World War II generation will be preserved within the physical memorial and through the Registry, an individual listing of Americans who contributed to the war effort. Any U.S. citizen who helped win the war, whether a veteran or someone on the home front, is eligible for the Registry. Names in the Registry will be forever linked to the memorial's bronze and granite representations of their sacrifice and achievement. The Registry will include the names of those buried in the American Battle Monuments Commission's overseas WWII cemeteries, those listed on ABMC Walls of the Missing, and those listed on official War and Navy Department rosters of killed in service, as well as those enrolled by the public.
The database will be hosted on the memorial web site and will be accessible from the memorial site. We have 1.3 million records in the database, but with 16 million having served in uniform, we have just scratched the surface. Anything you can do to promote Registry enrollments would be greatly appreciated. Registry enrollments can be made through our web site by clicking on the WWII Registry link on the home page or by calling our toll free number (800-639-4992) for a Registry brochure.

There is no charge to enroll a member of the WWII generation in the Registry, although there is a $5 processing fee for a certificate of the enrollment and a $10 fee to add a photograph of the individual to the record. We expect to launch the Registry database on our web site this July 4th so it can be viewed by the public well before the memorial is completed, and we will continue to accept enrollments through dedication and beyond.

Fund Raising
Just a quick note on funding. We have ended all fund raising, although we continue to accept donations from those who want to be part of the memorial project. Congress directed that all funds remaining after project costs have been paid will remain in the WWII Memorial Trust Fund held by the U.S. Treasury and can be used by the American Battle Monuments Commission solely to benefit the WWII Memorial.

We have received $192 million in cash and pledges, more than enough to cover our current estimated total project cost of $171 million. So, through the generosity of your organizations and states and many others across the country, we are in good shape financially.

Photo Captions
The following are short captions describing the activity in the attached photos. All photos were taken by Stefano Terricola.

South plaza This view of the south end of the memorial plaza shows the
rebuilding of the Rainbow Pool underway in the center of the photo,
with the Washington Monument and Capitol in the background.


SW plaza rebar. Another large section of the plaza is being prepared for
pouring of the concrete foundation slab. A completed section of pillars and
the north arch under construction are visible in the background.


SE pillars and south arch The south arch nears completions
and work continues on the rampart wall and pillars.


That's it for now. As always, thank you for your continued support of our efforts to say thank you to America's World War II generation.


Mike Conley

(Note Press Release below)

National WWII Memorial Dedication Plans
Announced; Ceremony Set for May 29, 2004

Smithsonian, Washington National Cathedral and
Military Performing Units to Participate
in Four-Day “Tribute to a Generation”

Washington D.C., May 26, 2003 – The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) used a Memorial Day setting at the National World War II Memorial construction site to announce its official dedication events for the long-awaited memorial.

The four-day Tribute to a Generation celebration will run over Memorial Day weekend 2004, May 27-30. The formal dedication is set for Saturday afternoon, May 29, 2004.

The announcement was made by ABMC Chairman General P. X. Kelley, USMC (retired), before a group of Veterans Service Organization representatives who marked the 12-month countdown to dedication by gathering to remember the millions of WWII veterans who will not see their memorial completed.

Of 16 million who served during the war, fewer than four million are expected to be alive in May 2004.

“We remember today the gallant WWII veterans who gave their lives for freedom, and the millions who have died since,” General Kelley said. “We look forward to gathering here in 12 months, with their comrades-in-arms, to dedicate America’s memorial tribute to our WWII generation.”

The Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral, and Armed Forces ceremonial and musical units will participate in ABMC’s official dedication events.

Scheduled events include:

Dedication Ceremony
The memorial will be formally dedicated on Saturday, May 29, at 2 p.m. Pre-ceremony entertainment will include live music, video images of the wartime era, and historical information about the memorial. The ceremony will recognize the addition of the memorial to the National Mall area as a unit of the National Park System, and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the WWII generation.

WWII Reunion
The Smithsonian Institution will produce a National World War II Reunion on the Mall. The four-day event (May 27-30) will provide a venue for members of the WWII generation to gather together, meet former comrades, record oral histories, and enjoy 1940’s music and WWII equipment displays. The open-air and tented attractions will be exhibited from late morning to early evening and will be open to the public at no charge. The reunion will educate all generations on the importance of WWII to our nation.

Veterans Salute
ABMC will present a “Salute to WWII Veterans” at the MCI Center, featuring Armed Forces personnel in a musical and narrative tribute to veterans. This event will be free and open to the public. Three performances are planned: afternoon matinee and evening shows on Friday, May 28, and an evening performance on Saturday, May 29.

Memorial Service
An interfaith memorial service is set for Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral. The service will celebrate the dedication of the memorial and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Military and civilian clergy, as well as WWII dignitaries, are expected to participate.

Plans also are underway for a regional, summer-long celebration honoring the WWII generation featuring a variety of cultural activities, including performances, exhibits, lectures and films. Details are expected later this summer.

Specific arrangements for these events and other activities associated with the dedication will be made available on the memorial web site (www.wwiimemorial.com) and toll free number (1-800-639-4992) as they are confirmed.

Construction of the memorial began in September 2001. The memorial is on schedule to open to the public in early April 2004.

The story and photos were sent to AWON by Mike Conley,
and were provided by Ellen Jones Blackburn, with thanks!