Korean War Veterans Memorial

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio described version of the Korean War Veterans Memorial's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, this version interprets the two sided color brochure that is available to visitors for the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The brochure provides historical background of the Korean conflict, explores the history of this park, points out some of its highlights, and offers information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 15 minutes which we have divided into 11 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1 through 6 are overview sections. Sections 7 through 11 are text and images sections.

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OVERVIEW: Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is one of over 400 parks under the administration of the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior. Located in Washington, DC, the memorial is part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The memorial was  authorized by Congress in 1986 and dedicated in 1995. This 2.2 acre site, located at the southeast corner of the Lincoln Memorial plaza. welcomes millions of visitors each year. Visitors show particular interest in the 19 stainless steel statues representing American soldiers and enjoy how the memorial is effective in any kind of weather. For additional information, please visit the Accessibility and More Information sections of this audio described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

DESCRIPTION: The front of the brochure consists of three sections. A thin black banner at the top identifies the park. A slightly thicker black banner at the bottom provides text that explains why this memorial was created. The rest of the front side is a sepia-colored photo of the memorial depicting two of the larger than life sized soldier statues that are part of the larger display. A quote and brief explanation are printed on the top right corner of the photo. Descriptions and text are presented under their own sections of this audio guide.

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IMAGE, QUOTE, AND TEXT: Korean War Veterans Memorial

DESCRIPTION: Across the top is a thin black banner on which is printed Korean War Veterans Memorial.

IMAGE: Two statues.

Depicted in this photo of the memorial are two of the larger than life stainless steel soldier sculptures that are a part of the larger display of 19 figures. The figure in the foreground is a soldier dressed for harsh weather, covered with a poncho, combat helmet in place but unstrapped, carrying his M1918 Browning automatic rifle by the stock in his left hand at his side. With a grimacing closed mouth glance to his left, he appears to be taking short, hesitant steps as the platoon of statues crosses juniper bushes. Just over his right shoulder, following slightly behind, is a brother in arms, also dressed for harsh weather, combat helmet in place but unstrapped. This fellow soldier seems to be taking similarly cautious steps, but looks to his right. No weapon is visible. The soldiers appear to be walking into the sun, with shadows cast behind them.

In the background of this photo can be seen the memorial wall. On the wall is art created from actual photos of those who served during the Korean conflict, some of which are visible in this image.

Incorporated in the top right corner of the photo is the following text, "'Freedom Is Not Free.' These four words on the wall of the Korean War Veterans Memorial reflect the sentiments of men and women who served in the Korean War as well as those who fought and sacrificed to preserve democracy throughout our nation's history."

PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Shafer

RELATED TEXT in a black banner at the bottom of the front side: 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 reluctant to view the Korean War as something to memorialize. But to the men and women who served, the Korean War could never be a forgotten war. 

The passing of four decades had brought a new perspective to the war and its aftermath. The time had come, in the eyes of the nation, to set aside a place of remembrance for the people who served in this hard fought war half a world away. The Korean War Veterans Memorial honors those Americans who answered the call, this who worked and fought under the most trying of circumstances, and those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom.

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

DESCRIPTION: The backside of the brochure has a thin black banner at the top identifying the site. The rest of the top half consists of one section of text and two photos, one color and one black and white. The bottom half of the backside consists of two sections of text, with an accompanying color photo for each section of text. The descriptions and text are presented under their own sections of this audio guide.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: A War Half a World Away

IMAGE 1 of 2: Statues

DESCRIBING: A medium, horizontal photograph. 

DESCRIPTION: The photo is a view facing eastward, following a patrol of stainless-steel American soldiers moving up the inclined Field of Service, walking through juniper bushes and stepping over granite strips. The view captures most of the 19 soldiers comprising the patrol, suggesting that the photo was taken from the rear of the patrol, at a spot near the midpoint of the walkway located on the west end of the Field of Service. Any visitors taking advantage of that viewpoint might feel that they are also part of the patrol. The statues, roughly seven feet tall, appear to diminish in size the higher up the hill they climb. At the top of the hill is a flagpole located near the top center of the photo, at the apex of the Field of Service. An American flag flies at the top of the flagpole, with a black and white Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action flag directly underneath it. There are partial views of the walkways that border the south and north sides of the Field of Service. Along the south walkway, on the right side of the photo, is the polished black granite memorial wall. Visible on part of the wall are reflections of some of the statues. Beyond the flag, linden trees form a semi-circle, bravely trying to hold onto the last of their golden-leafed  autumn foliage. In the background, a few evergreen trees and other assorted trees that have already dropped their leaves provide a contrast to white clouds and blue sky.

 CREDIT: NPS/Terry Adams

IMAGE 2 of 2: Helicopter and soldiers

DESCRIBING: A small, sqaure photograph in black and white. 

DESCRIPTION: The photo shows what appears to be a troop transport helicopter coming in for a landing at a base, as evidenced by a tent and truck in the background. Most of the photo shows soldiers kneeling or sitting, watching the helicopter approach the landing. Helicopters were often used to ferry casualties and/or battle-weary troops back from a combat area and pick up soldiers to replace those that were brought back.

CREDIT: National Archives

RELATED TEXT: Only five years had passed since the end of World War II when the United States once again found itself em­broiled in a major international conflict. In the early morning hours of June 25, 1950, the communist government of North Korea launched an at­tack into South Korea. Determined to support the world’s imperiled democracies, the United States immediately sent troops from Japan to join those already stationed in Korea; they fought with other nations under the U.N. flag. What was envisioned as a short, decisive campaign be­came a prolonged, bitter, frustrating fight that threatened to ex­plode beyond Korean borders. For three years the fighting raged. In 1953 an uneasy peace returned by means of a negotiated settlement that established a new boundary near the original one at the 38th parallel.                                  

One-and-a-half million American men and women, a true cross-section of the nation’s populace, struggled side by side during the conflict. They served as soldiers, chaplains, nurses, clerks, and in a host of other combat and support roles. Many risked their lives in extraordinary acts of heroism. Of these, 131 received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s most esteemed tribute to combat bravery.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: A Place for Reflection

DESCRIBING: A small, cutout photograph. 

DESCRIPTION: Three dimensional headshot photo of one of the soldier statues set against the grainy beige background of the brochure. The image highlights the sculptor's use of unpolished stainless steel for the statues, which creates a rough texture. The soldier wears a rounded combat helmet, with the chinstrap unfastened. The hood of his poncho is bunched around the back of his neck. The soldier's head is turned slightly to his left as the sun shines on his right cheek. His eyes are wide open. His gaze, combined with an open mouth, suggest he is verbally communicating with one or more of his fellow soldiers. 

CREDIT: Robert Shafer

RELATED TEXT: Viewed from above, the memorial is a circle intersected by a triangle (see below). Visitors approaching the mem­orial come first to the triangular Field of Service. Here, a group of 19 stainless steel statues, created by World War II veteran Frank Gaylord, depicts a squad on patrol and evokes the experience of American ground troops in Korea. Strips of granite and scrubby juniper bushes suggest the rugged Korean terrain, while windblown ponchos re­call the harsh weather. This symbolic patrol brings together members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Ma­rines, and Navy. The men portrayed are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.                

A granite curb on the north side of the statues lists the 22 countries of the United Nations that sent troops or gave medical support in defense of South Korea. On the south side is a black granite wall. Its polished surface mirrors the statues, intermingling the reflected images with the faces etched into the granite. The etched mural is based on actual photographs of un­iden­­tified American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. The faces represent all those who provided support for the ground troops. Together these images reflect the determination of U.S. forces and the countless ways in which Amer­i­cans answered their country’s call to duty. 

The adjacent Pool of Remembrance, encircled by a grove of trees, provides a quiet setting. Numbers of those killed, wounded, missing in action, and held prisoner of war are etched in stone nearby. Opposite this counting of the war’s toll, another granite wall bears a message inlaid in silver: Freedom Is Not Free.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Establishment and Dedication

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical photograph. 

DESCRIPTION: An aerial view of the Korean War Veterans Memorial, perhaps taken from a helicopter hovering just above the trees seen in the foreground of the photo. Just beyond  those trees, looking in a westward direction, is the memorial. Most of the circular plaza that encompasses the Pool of Remembrance is visible. Around the pool are two rows of linden trees, almost bare of their golden leaves of autumn, casting their shadows onto the plaza and the grassy expanse on the northern side of the memorial, located on the right side of the photo. Stone benches underneath the outer row of the linden trees provides a place for visitors to sit, listen to the soothing sound of water that cascades down the edge of the pool during most of the year, and contemplate the Forgotten War. Further away in the photo is the triangular Field of Service, in which 19 stainless steel American soldiers make their way uphill towards a flagpole. The Field of Service is bordered by three walkways, two of which lead visitors into the memorial and converge at the flagpole, intersecting with the Pool of Remembrance plaza. The flag is flying at half staff, perhaps indicating that the photo was taken on Veterans Day. The mural wall casts a shadow on the south walkway, on the left side of the photo. Beyond the rear of the patrol is a grove of zelcova trees, showing off their red fall foliage. A wall of much larger assorted trees separate the memorial grounds from Daniel French Drive. At the top of the photo, far off in the distance, the skyline of Rosslyn, located on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, melts into a hazy sky above.


RELATED TEXT: On October 28, 1986, Congress authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish a memorial in Washing­ton, D.C., to honor members of the U.S. armed forces who served in the Korean War. President Ronald Reagan appointed the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board to recommend a site and de­sign and to raise construction funds. Ground was broken in Novem­ber 1993. Frank Gaylord was chosen as the principal sculptor of the statues, and Louis Nelson was selected to create the mural of etched faces on the wall. President William J. Clinton and Kim Young Sam, President of the Republic of Korea, dedicated the memorial on July 27, 1995, the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war. 

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TEXT: Visiting the Memorial

RELATED TEXT: The memorial is staffed daily except December 25 by park rangers and/or volunteers who give talks and answer questions. A bookstore in the nearby Lincoln Memorial sells items about the memorial and the Korean War.


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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is wheelchair accessible. Walkways are sloped, however, and may become slippery in winter weather.

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OVERVIEW: More information

PHYSICAL ADDRESS:                                                                                                             10 Daniel French Drive, SW                                                                            Washington, DC 2 0 0 0 2

CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS:                                                                                                                          Korean War Veterans Memorial                                                                           National Mall and Memorial Parks                                                                               900 Ohio Drive SW                                                                                                 Washington, DC 2 0 0 2 4                                                                                          

PHONE: 2 0 2 4 2 6 6 8 4 1

WEB SITE: www dot n p s dot gov forward slash k o w a

The memorial is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks visit:  www dot n p s dot gov 

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