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United States Navy Memorial
U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C..JPG
Map showing the location of United States Navy Memorial
Location Washington, D.C., USA
Coordinates 38°53′39″N 77°1′23″W / 38.89417°N 77.02306°W / 38.89417; -77.02306Coordinates: 38°53′39″N 77°1′23″W / 38.89417°N 77.02306°W / 38.89417; -77.02306
Established October 13, 1987
Governing body U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation

The United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 7th Street Northwest and 9th Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., honors those who have served or are currently serving in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine.

The National Park Service, through its National Mall and Memorial Parks administrative unit, provides technical and maintenance assistance to the foundation. The memorial is adjacent to the Archives station and the National Archives building.

Associated with the Memorial is the Naval Heritage Center. The Heritage Center is open 362 days a year, closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.


For America’s sea services, The United States Navy Memorial is the triumph of a centuries-old dream. In the early days of America’s national independence, architect Pierre L'Enfant envisioned a memorial in the Nation’s Capital "to celebrate the first rise of the Navy and consecrate its progress and achievements."[citation needed] But it was only in the twentieth century that L’Enfant’s vision of a Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. was realized.

Pennsylvania Avenue, “America’s Main Street,” the boulevard that links the U.S. Capitol and White House, the scene of so many parades, pageants, and national memories, was chosen to be the location.

After President John F. Kennedy – himself a Navy war hero – inspired the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Avenue, another Navy war hero, Admiral Arleigh Burke, proclaimed in 1977 that “we have talked long enough about a Navy Memorial and it's time we did something about it."[citation needed]

In the Spring of 1977, Burke — World War II war hero and former three-term Chief of Naval Operations — started to recruit a group to form the private, non-profit U. S. Navy Memorial Foundation. The following year, the Foundation, led by Rear Admiral William Thompson, USN (Ret.), started to work on the five steps necessary in the building of a memorial in Washington: enabling legislation, design, site selection, fund raising, and construction and maintenance.

Congress authorized the Memorial in 1980, with the stipulation that funding come solely from private contributions. In March 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Public Law 96-199, which authorized the Memorial as a part of a larger Department of the Interior bill.

Although a number of sites in Washington, DC, were possible, the Foundation teamed up with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation to use Market Square as the site for the Memorial. The Foundation and the Corporation jointly selected Conklin Rossant of New York as architects.

Navy Memorial

By December 1985, the Foundation had raised enough funds to warrant a go-ahead approval from the Secretary of the Interior, and construction got underway the following month. (The Foundation staff and Board of Directors had raised $18-million by opening day of the Visitors Center, and fund raising continues today, to retire remaining construction debt and support educational programs undertaken by the Foundation.)

By August 1987, Stanley Bleifeld completed work on the The Lone Sailor statue as construction of the Memorial neared completion at the site.

The Memorial was dedicated on October 13, 1987.

From late 1987 to mid-1990, two buildings were constructed on the Memorial's northern perimeter. The eastern of the two buildings was selected for the Memorial's Visitors Center. The building's shell was sufficiently completed by September 1989 to allow construction to begin for the interior of the Visitors Center. The Visitors Center opened in June 1991 and was formally dedicated on October 12, 1991.

During the summer of 2006, the water in the fountains of the Navy Memorial was colored blue due to the presence of chemicals added to the water to fight algae growth.[1] According to a spokesperson for the memorial, the algae has been surprisingly difficult to remove, and that they "figured it was better to have blue water than to have an algae-encrusted memorial."[2] The blue water was gone by the end of the summer.

Navy Memorial

The United States Navy Memorial is home to the Memorial Plaza, which features Stanly Bleifield's famous statue, The Lone Sailor. The Lone Sailor — a tribute to all personnel of the sea services — overlooks the Granite Sea, an exact replication of the world's oceans. Surrounding the Granite Sea are two fountain pools, honoring the personnel of the American Navy and the other navies of the world. The southern hemisphere of the Granite Sea is surrounded by 26 bronze bas-reliefs commemorating events, personnel, and communities of the various sea services.

Adjacent to the Memorial Plaza is the Naval Heritage Center, which features the Arleigh Burke Theater, several rotating exhibits about the sea services, and several Navy Log kiosks, for easy registration on the Navy Log. The Naval Heritage Center also features daily screenings of the films At Sea and A Day in the Life of the Blue Angels. The Media Resource Center provides a library of printed, audio and video historical documents on the Navy. The Navy Log room has touch-screen kiosks to register and search for Sea Service members and veterans.

From April 2011 through March 2012, the Naval Heritage Center is featuring the Year of Naval Aviation, with the Gallery Deck filled with paintings and other works of art depicting aviation in the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard from 1911 to the present day. Beginning April 2012 and going through March 2013, the Naval Heritage Center will be dedicated to celebrating the Year of the Chief, the senior enlisted rank.

Memorial quotes

On an outdoor wall at the Naval Memorial are engraved noteworthy sayings from the history of the US Navy, and who said them. Among which are:

  • "I have not yet begun to fight!" – Captain John Paul Jones – 1779
  • "Don't give up the ship!" – Captain James Lawrence – 1813
  • "We have met the enemy and they are ours." – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry – 1813
  • "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead." – Admiral David Farragut – 1864
  • "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." – Commodore George Dewey – 1898
  • "Speak softly and carry a big stick." – President Theodore Roosevelt – 1907
  • "Sighted sub, sank same" – Aviation Machinist's Mate 1/c Donald Francis Mason – 1942[3]
  • "Underway on nuclear power." – Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson – January 17, 1955
  • "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind" – Astronaut and Naval Aviator Neil Armstrong – July 20, 1969
  • "I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'" President John F. Kennedy, 1 August 1963, at Bancroft Hall at the US Naval Academy,

Other Navy memorials

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the memorial contains a small chapel and tribute to the various battles fought in the Pacific.

See also


  1. Kelly, John (June 30, 2006). "John Kelly's Washington Live". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  2. Grass, Michael (August 17, 2006). "Blue Hue vs. Residue" (PDF). Express. The Washington Post. p. 36. Retrieved 2006-08-21. 
  3. "Famous Navy Quotes". U.S. Navy Memorial website. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. USS South Dakota is memorialized at Sioux Falls, S. Dak., where memorabilia and parts of the ship are displayed within an outline of the main deck. A screw from South Dakota is on display outside the U.S. Navy Museum in Washington, D.C.
  5. Lt. Capodanno was a Navy chaplain who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War.
  6. Lt. Hans Grauert Memorial Field is the home rugby pitch of the Fairfield University Men's Rugby Football Club. Dr. Christopher Grauert (Class of 1968) and his mother, Leila B. Grauert, donated the rugby pitch in 2003 in honor of his brother, Lt. Hans Grauert, who was a naval aviator lost at sea during the Vietnam War.
  7. The Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award is a college lacrosse award. It is named for Charles Markland Kelly, Jr., a Maryland Terrapins men's lacrosse goalie who left school in 1940 to become a Navy pilot and died in the Battle of Midway. With World War II imminent, Kelly left school in October 1940, to become a Navy pilot. In August 1941, he received his wings and was commissioned an ensign. He was assigned to duty as a fighter pilot with Fighter Squadron 8 (VF-8) onboard USS Hornet. Flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat on an escort mission for the carrier's bombers during the Battle of Midway, he failed to return from the initial strike, and was reported missing in action on June 4, 1942.
  8. The Lt. Donald McLaughlin Jr. Award — also known as the "Don McLaughlin Award" — has been given annually since 1973 by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) to the nation's most outstanding college lacrosse midfielder in NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III. The award is named for Lt. (j.g.) Donald MacLaughlin Jr. (U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1963), an All-American, Navy lacrosse midfielder, who died on a combat mission in South Vietnam in 1966.
  9. John's Law is a New Jersey state statute that requires police to impound the vehicle of a driver who is being arrested for drunk driving. John's Law II is a subsequent New Jersey statute that authorizes police to hold drunken drivers until they sober up rather than release them to a relative or friend. The law is named for Ensign John R. Elliott (U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 2000), who was killed in 2000 by a drunken driver. The driver had been arrested two hours earlier, but he was released to the custody of a friend who allowed him to return to his vehicle and drive. Pearsall, Richard, 'John's Law' may set the standard. Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, N.J.), August 11, 2005. Retrieved 2010-02-15. See also Ensign John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers website. Retrieved 2010-05-28.

External links

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