WWII Veterans Honored for Sacrifice, Service
As a streak of black vehicles passed by, Anthony Loven, who served in the Navy as a military police officer, said "I think it's the president."
"I don't care who it is," said the exasperated shuttle driver. "They're holding up traffic."
There were few reports of serious health problems among the crowd -- another top concern of organizers. At the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial nine years ago, 93-degree temperatures resulted in one cardiac arrest and 500 cases of heat exhaustion. Today’s mild weather -- with temperatures in the low 70s -- meant far fewer problems today. Free bottled water was available throughout the Mall. Nine medical tents were erected near the memorial and nearly a dozen ambulances were on hand.
To allow those without tickets to watch the ceremony, large-screen monitors were set up at two locations on the Mall -- between 14th and 10th streets and on the U.S. Capitol's West Lawn. Non-ticketed attendees, who were not allowed on the shuttle buses, were encouraged to walk to those areas from nearby Metro stations, such as Smithsonian and Capitol South.
One woman who did not have a ticket to today's ceremony was Mary Morphew, who sat sobbing on a bench near Metro Center. Her eyes were ringed red, and a crumpled tissue was in her hand. "I miss my father," she said.
His name was Weldon Bailey "Jack" Morphew. He was a farm boy from Oklahoma, a good Southern Baptist, a Seabee who helped build air bases for the Navy in World War II. He has been dead 33 years.
Mary Morphew said its did not matter to her that she could not attend the formal dedication. "I just wanted to see the vets, really," she said. "The memorial is fine, but these are the guys who did all the work."
Staff writers Manny Fernandez, Monte Reel, Elaine Rivera, Jason Ukman contributed to this report.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
President Bush speaks during the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington Saturday, May 29, 2004. Former Senator Bob Dole, bottom right, sits with World War II Medal of Honor recipients.
(Ron Edmonds - AP)