Ode of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen” 1914
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest, by all their country’s wishes blest
The American Revolution
1775 – 1783
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution is a war memorial located in Washington Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It honors the thousands of soldiers who died during the American Revolutionary War, many of whom were buried in that park in mass graves. In the Tomb rests the disinterred and archeologically examined remains of a soldier, although undetermined whether Colonial or British.
The memorial was first conceived in 1954 by the Washington Square Planning Committee and completed in 1957. The monument, designed by architect G. Edwin Brumbaugh, includes an eternal flame and, as its centerpiece, a bronze cast of Jean Antoine Houdon’s statue of George Washington. An unknown number of bodies remain buried beneath the square and surrounding area.
Engraved in the side of the tomb are these words:
“Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness”
“The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts of common dangers, suffering and success” (Washington Farewell Address, Sept. 17, 1796)
“In unmarked graves within this square lie thousands of unknown soldiers of Washington’s Army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War”
The plaque on the tomb reads:
“Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington’s army who died to give you liberty”
War of 1812
1812 – 1815
The 32-month War of 1812 and its 20,000 casualties were almost as deadly as the 25,000 war-related deaths during nearly 9 years of the American Revolutionary War. In both cases, disease, not the musket, created most casualties. Pneumonia was a particular scourge of American society and its army was not immune.
Multiple monuments to the War of 1812 exist nationwide, including the memorial to the Battle of New Orleans.
The final land battle of the War of 1812 was fought here following the signing of the peace treaty but prior to the news reaching the armies. The Battle of New Orleans Memorial stands over 70 feet tall and looks over the Chalmette battlefield where 2,000 British and 13 U.S. casualties occurred.
1861 – 1865
U.S. Army troops, dispatched to investigate every battlefield within a 35 mile radius of Washington, D.C., collected the bodies of 2,111 Union and Confederate dead. Most were retrieved from the battlefields of First and Second Bull Run, as well as the Union army’s retreat along the Rappahanock River. Some of these soldiers were interred where they fell, but most were full or partial remains discovered on the field of battle. None were identifiable. The Civil War would incur 750,000 in casualties.
Spanish – American War
United States Army officer Colonel Charles A. Wikoff was the most senior U.S. military officer killed in the Spanish–American War. American casualties totaled 2,910 with 345 in combat and 2,565 succumbing to mosquito-borne disease.
World War I
World War I was a global war centered in Europe from 28 July 1914 until 11 November 1918. More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war which was one of the deadliest conflicts in history. U.S. military casualties totaled 116,516.
On March 4, 1921, the United States Congress approved the burial of an unidentified WWI American serviceman in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater. On November 11th, an unknown soldier returned from France was also entombed.
World War II
1941 – 1945
WWII was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, though related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the world’s nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. The most widespread war in history, it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, as well as military forces, an estimated 50 to 85 million fatalities made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history. U.S. military casualties reached 405,399.
The National World War II Memorial is a national monument dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Opened on April 29, 2004, it was dedicated by President George W. Bush on May 29. The memorial is administered by the National Park Service under its National Mall and Memorial Parks group. As of 2009, more than 4.4 million people visit the memorial each year.
1950 – 1953
The Korean War between North and South Korea, was joined by a United Nations force led by the United States in its support for the South, while China aligned with the North, assisted by the Soviet Union. The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately afterwards. American casualties would reach 36,516.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial was confirmed by the U.S. Congress on October 28, 1986, with design and construction managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission. President George H. W. Bush conducted the groundbreaking on June 14, 1992.
In Memory of the Legacy of their Sacrifice for Succeeding Generations