In Washington, D.C., ‘The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak’

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

– Archibald MacLeish

In September of this year, the National World War I Memorial’s sculpture – titled ‘A Soldier’s Journey’ – is scheduled for installation in Washington, D.C.

The memorial is located at the former Pershing Park, on 1.76-acres along Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 14th Street NW and 15th Street NW, across from the White House Visitor Center.

A+A has been tracking the development of Sabin Howard’s monumental, 58-foot-long bas-relief sculpture since November 11, 2019. It features 38 figures depicting the journey of a recurring American soldier and representing the larger American experience of World War I.

Today, we are pleased to re-post our original coverage of the monument’s design:

The design of a Washington, D.C. memorial to commemorate sacrifices by Americans in the “War to End All Wars” has been completed.

In record time, for a project of its scale and proportion.

Since 2016, GWWO Architects has worked collaboratively with a team of artists, architects, engineers, and landscape architects to realize a striking vision for the National World War I Memorial.

It is to be sited about a block and a half from the White House, a sculpture by Sabin Howard at its heart, surrounded by and floating upon a fountain of water.

Its site alongside Pershing Park presented the designers with challenges from an urban setting.

“As a culturally significant park, we were working within existing constraints,” says John Gregg, associate principal at GWWO Architects. “We wanted to keep the memorial to Pershing and incorporate the fountain and sculpture into it.”

They found their inspiration in the soldiers and civilians who had to endure and embrace the devastating results of the world’s first fully mechanized war.

“It came from the weight, gravity and significance of the war and the sacrifices made by soldiers and people at home as well,” he says. “They’re both in the sculpture and in other interpretation opportunities provided in the park.”

They wanted to provide a deeper understanding of World War I. Through the use of a multi-layered interpretive approach, GWWO Architects placed the new sculpture, ‘A Soldier’s Journey,’ at the center of the overall design, allowing visitors to experience the memorial at an emotional and meaningful level.

“There’s a personal level of interaction, whether physical with the sculpture, or through digital opportunities at the park,” he says.

For more, go here.