— National Mall & Memorial Parks, Washington, DC —
"...without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."George Washington.
The United States Navy Memorial's roots are as old as the Nation's Capital itself . Major Peter C. L'Enfant envisioned a great federal city that would be home to grand government buildings and prominent memorials. L'Enfant signaled the importance of the Navy by selecting the notable 8th Street vista - midway between the Capitol and the White House - as the site for a Naval Itinerary Column.
The column never appeared, but the current memorial suitably sits astride that 8th Street vista. Here one may honor those who forged the Navy's heritage, pay tribute to the fallen, and demonstrate gratitude to those Sailors now serving.
In the upper right of the marker is photograph of the Lone Sailor sculpture facing a parade of sailors. It's caption reads:
The Lone Sailor?
Perhaps the most enduring element of the memorial, and the one to which most visitors are drawn, is The Lone Sailor?
. Although a seasoned, seagoing veteran, The Lone Sailor?
depicts an individual, at most 25 years of age who willingly serves his country but longs for his return home to family and friends.
The bronze sculpture fittingly contains metal from eight historic U.S. Navy ships - USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Hartford, USS Maine, USS Ranger, USS Biloxi, USS Hancock, USS Seawolf - and the modern Navy's National Defense Service Medal.
In the center of the marker is an aerial photograph of the Navy Memorial. The numbered captions for this photograph identifies key points around the memorial as follows:
1. Compass Rose - The entrance point to the Navy Memorial. Surmounted by the Department of the Navy seal, this represents the Navy's true course in defending our nation.
2. Fountain Pool - Honors the men and women of the U.S. Navy as well as the international navies that cooperate with the U.S. Navy. Each pool annually is salted with waters from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes.
3. Bronze Reliefs - 26 sculptures depict naval scenes from times of war and peace.
4. The Lone Sailor?
5. The Granite Sea - This granite map reminds visitors of the expanse of the earth's oceans, aligns perfectly with the earth, and is centered on Washington, D.C.
6. The Concert Stage - plays host to military band performances.
7. The 8th Street vista.
8. Naval Heritage Center - celebrates the heritage of the sea service people and their time honored traditions of the sea.
At the bottom of the marker are flag renderings, representing the:
United States Ensign; U.S. Navy; U.S. Marine Corps; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Merchant Marine; Prisoners of War/Missing in Action; Chief of Naval Operations; First Navy Jack.
All images (on the marker were provided)
courtesy of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation and the United States Navy.