WE AIN'T GONNA GLORIFY WAR NO MORE, MAYBE? O! now, forever Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content! Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars That make ambition virtue! O, farewell! Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, The royal banner and all quality, Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war! -- Othello, Act III, Scene iii. The somber black granite walls of the Vietnam war memorial -- to be dedicated Saturday in Constitution Gardens -- evoke mourning, but little glory. Like Othello the disillusioned warrior, America has said goodbye to glorifying war. But before the collective tranquil mind became a casualty, wars were remembered with pride, pomp and circumstance, with neighing steeds and heroic deeds carved in stone and cast in bronze.
War memorials are legion in Washington, many well known but others hidden in remote cemeteries. Some stand in busy traffic circles, visited only by pigeons; others in happier places, watching office workers eat lunch in fair weather. Here are some war memorials worth going to see: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Revolutionary War heroes stand in many of the squares and circles outlined in the L'Enfant plan. There's GEORGE WASHINGTON himself on horseback in Washington Circle, cast in bronze by Clark Mills. Although Washington's war hardly seems controversial now, this memorial has a long and not entirely happy history. First proposed in 1783, the statue wasn't unveiled until 1860. The elaborate pedestal the sculptor designed was canceled for lack of funds; critics panned the statue -- Washington's serene expression didn't jibe with the terrified look on the face of the horse, they said. In other circles, squares and triangles you can find more Revolutionary heroes. NATHANAEL GREENE in Stanton Square, Maryland and Massachusetts avenues NE; ARTEMAS WARD, besieger of British-held Boston (not to be confused with humorist Artemus Ward) in Ward Circle at Massachusetts and Nebraska avenues NW; and foreign helpers LAFAYETTE, VON STEUBEN, KOSCIUSKO, and ROCHAMBEAU in Lafayette Park, and PULASKI in Western Plaza.
NATHAN HALE, the Connecticut schoolteacher turned soldier who spied on the British, is immortalized in bronze in a life-size statue on the Constitution Avenue side of the Department of Justice. The 21-year-old martyr is depicted with hands and feet shackled as he gave his famous gallows speech: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Lest we forget that the Revolution was fought by embattled farmers in ragtag uniforms, there's a 20-foot-high bronze statue of THE MINUTE MAN, the citizen-soldier, adorning the headquarters of the National Guard Association at 1 Massachusetts Avenue NW. This is a copy of the raw- muscled, rifle-wielding soldier created by Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French in Concord, Massachusetts -- the same statue that has inspired pictures on postage stamps and war-bond posters. The Washington version was sculpted by Felix de Weldon in 1966. Washington's first outdoor sculpture -- according to James M.Goode, whose book The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C. is useful on any tour of local monuments -- was a memorial to the fledgling nation's first war, the skirmish with Barbary pirates in 1804 and 1805. The Tripoli Monument, commissioned by some naval officers, was carved in white marble in Italy and shipped over here just in time to be damaged by the marauding British in 1814. Restored by act of Congress, it adorned the west front of the Capitol until it was moved to the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1860. The extravagantly detailed work is engraved with the names of fallen naval officers and decorated with Winged Victory, symbolic representations of America, Commerce and History and turbaned Tripolitan heads. It stands near the Officers Club on the academy grounds, which are open tio the public daily from 9 to 5. THE WAR OF 1812 The marauding British, of course, were part of the War of 1812, which also produced a few noteworthy memorials. The bronze statue of COMMODORE JOHN PAUL JONES, mounted on a Beaux Arts marble pedestal at 17th Street and Independence Avenue NW, carries this proud, somehow pathetic inscription: "First to Compel Foreign Man of War to Strike Colors to the Stars and Stripes."
ALEXANDER MACOMB, an obscure lieutenant colonel, became a hero and rose to major general by virtue of his victories against the British. After the war, he relapsed into obscurity, but he was buried under a strikingly solemn, rich-in-symbolism memorial in Congressional Cemetery, 18th and E streets SE. The 14-foot neoclassical statue, which can be found to the left of the chapel on the north side of the road, is topped by a Roman officers' helmet and includes four lion paws, a draped American flag, a Roman sword and laurel leaves, symbol of victory. There are also a butterfly and a snake to symbolize resurrection; an hourglass and wings, symbolic of life's brevity; and a willow branch, bespeaking sorrow. The Macomb memorial has the banners and swords, but for the neighing steed -- the first made-in-America bronze neighing steed -- look to the equestrian statue of GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON in Lafayette Park. Jackson, his steed whinnying and rearing, is shown acknowledging the salute of his troops at the Battle of New Orleans, the War of 1812's last battle. Owing to the primitive state of communications, it was fought after peace had been made. Equestrian statues pose formidable technical problems for sculptors. Self-taught American sculptor Clark Mills cast the Jackson statue in 10 pieces using 15 tons of bronze in a foundry he set up just behind the White House. Mills completed the statue in 1853, opening the paddock gate for the troops of bronze horses that wereeto invade the capital in the wake of the Civil War. THE CIVIL WAR The most interesting horse in all of these equestrian statues is probably Rienzi, the horse that carried GENERAL PHILIP SHERIDAN through 85 battles against the Confederates. Rienzi was renamed Winchester after he and Sheridan won a major battle near that Virginia town, but his original name seems more apt for the graceful horse that Sheridan sits astride in Sheridan Circle, Massachusetts Avenue and 23rd Street NW. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and unveiled by Sheridan's soldier son in 1908, the statue depicts the general waving his hat to rally troops. At opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, two Civil War giants -- Grant and Sherman -- sit astride their steeds. GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT, at the foot of the Capitol on the east end of the avenue, sits in dignity on his mount with the single word "Grant'' inscribed on the marble pedestal now streaked with green from the bronze above. The equestrian statue, surrounded by four lions, provides a quiet center for the rest of the work, a realistic tableau of the turmoil of war. You can see agony on the faces of the fallen horse and the rider about to be trampled by his comrades, weariness in the faces of the artillerymen. Sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady, a self-taught artist from a socially prominent New York family, was practically unknown when he won the juried competition for the commission, and the artistic establishment protested loudly. Although he had never been to war, Shrady researched the details so well that the scenes look startlingly real. He dissected horses, joined the National Guard for four years, borrowed uniforms and had West Point cadets put on special demonstrations. Shrady worked on the group for 20 years, dying two weeks before its dedication in 1922. The memorial to GENERAL WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, behind the Treasury at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, is static by contrast. Surrounding the bronze equestrian statue of the man who led the famous -- infamous, if you're from the South -- march through Georgia are standing soldiers: an artilleryman, a infantryman. Sherman's colleague in the march to the sea, GENERAL JAMES B.McPHERSON, was killed in the Battle of Atlanta and is honored by an equestrian statue in McPherson Square, 15th and K streets NW. The Society of the Army of the Tennessee, which commissioned the work, wanted to move McPherson's body from Ohio and bury it beneath the statue, but a court order obtained by the Clyde (Ohio) Monumental Society stopped the exhumation at the eleventh hour.
GENERAL GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, cashiered from command of the Union Army of the Potomac after letting Lee's army slip from his grasp at the battle of Antietam, sits at the top of the hill where Connecticut Avenue runs into Columbia Road. Sculptor Frederick MacMonnies cast the work while a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1906 before being shipped here for its dedication in 1907. You can see other mounted Union officers in the city's circles and squares, but for an equestrian statue of a Confederate hero, you have to cross the District line into Virginia, to the site of the Battle of Manassas. There stands -- or sits -- GENERAL THOMAS JACKSON like a stone wall astride his horse, Old Sorrel. Commissioned by the State of Virginia, the bronze statue was unveiled in 1940 by a great-grandaughter of the general. Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own troops; his last words were, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the trees." Many Union heroes eventually crossed over the river and into Arlington Cemetery, where the paths of glory led them through the red sandstone McClellan Gate to the resting place of 15,585 Union dead. (The inscription on the gate says 315,555 Union troops died in the war; the more generally accepted figure is 364,511.) In a massive granite vault just south of the Lee Mansion are the remains of 2,111 UNKNOWN CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS, victims of the Battle of Bull Run. On Jackson Circle, just off McPherson Drive, there's a CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL, installed by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1914. The bell-shaped bronze monument is topped by a woman symbolizing peace and decorated with a high-relief frieze below of Confederate soldiers leaving for war and returning in defeat. The only Civil War battle fought within the present city limits was at FORT STEVENS, which has its own cemetery on Georgia Avenue just north of Piney Branch Road NW. There are small monuments erected by New York State and by Onondaga County -- many of the casualties were New Yorkers. A circle of plain soldiers' graves surrounds a flagpole and a Greek temple forms a classical backdrop. The Navy fought the Civil War, too. In the GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC MEMORIAL at Seventh and C streets NW, bronze figures of a soldier and a sailor stand side by side on a granite obelisk that honors BENJAMIN STEPHENSON, founder of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization. Prominent Civil War naval heroes include ADMIRAL DAVID FARRAGUT, who lashed himself to the rigging of his ship and, shouting "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," destroyed the Confederate fleet at Mobile Bay. His bronze statue in Farragut Square, 17th and K streets NW, was executed by Vinnie Ream Hoxie in 1881. A less conventional but happier tribute to a naval officer is the REAR ADMIRAL SAMUEL FRANCIS DUPONT MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN in Dupont Circle. Dupont captured Port Royal, South Carolina, early in the war, but later was defeated at Charleston and retired under a cloud. After his death, his family commissioned the memorial as part of an effort to clear his name. The graceful figures in the center of the broad basin represent sea, wind and stars; Daniel Chester French sculpted them in white marble. Another white-marble allegory to Civil War naval heroes is the PEACE MONUMENT at Pennsylvania Avenue and First Street NW. The two female figures draped in Greek robes on top of the monument represent America weeping on the shoulders of history over the Navy dead. It wasopen ti done in Rome by American Franklin Simmons. The role of women in the Civil War is marked by two dissimilar memorials. NUNS OF THE BATTLEFIELD, a low-relief bronze panel at Rhode Island Avenue and M Street NW, shows nuns in the habits of various orders. At either end of the nine-foot panel sit Patriotism -- a Roman warrior -- and the Angel of Peace. The ARSENAL MONUMENT at Congressional Cemetery memorializes 21 women workers, many of them teenagers, killed in an explosion at the Washington Arsenal. Sculptor Lot Flannery placed a neoclassical female figure atop an obelisk with panels at the base depicting the explosion. THE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR Considering when it took place, this war should have generated some Art Nouveau memorials, but most were created much later. There is one interesting example of the style in the memorial to MAJOR GENERAL HENRY W. LAWTON, in Arlington Cemetery, near Sheridan and Lee drives. The bronze sarcophagus represents a palm hut, appropriate to Lawton's surroundings when he died during the Philippine Insurrection in 1899. Also at Arlington is the MAINE MEMORIAL, which incorporates the mast of the battleship, sunk in Havana harbor during the incident that sparked the war: We assumed the Spanish mined her, which later was proved to be a bum rap. Near the Metro stop at the approach to the cemetery stands THE HIKER, a jaunty American soldier in tropical garb. WORLD WAR I For an overview of The Great War, The War for Civilization, The War to Save the World for Democracy, start at the PERSHING MEMORIAL in newly constructed Pershing Square at 14th and Pennsylvania. Maps etched in polished rose granite show how General of the Armies John Pershing whipped the American Expeditionary Forces into fighting shape and into the Meuse-Argonne campaign. There's no statue of Pershing, only a quote from him about the bravery of his troops. A few blocks away in the small park behind the Old Executive Office Building stands a gilded WINGED VICTORY atop a granite column, a memorial to the American Expeditionary Force's First Division. At the base are inscribed the division's 5,599 World War I dead. The division's World War II and Vietnam dead are commemorated on tablets added later. Architect Cass Gilbert and sculptor Daniel Chester French collaborated on the original monument, dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924. The Second Division also fought in World War I, World War II and Korea, and its deeds are memorialized by an ornate, GILDED BRONZE SWORD, symbolically blocking the Germans from Paris (the first time). The setting on the Ellipse is a stylized granite temple designed by John Russell Pope. James Earle Fraser sculpted the sword. Residents of the District of Columbia who served in the Great War have a beautiful white marble GREEK TEMPLE in a grove between Constitution Gardens and Independence Avenue. The names of the 26,000 Washingtonians who served in the war are contained within the cornerstone and the names of the dead are inscribed on the base. One of the few cast-aluminum memorials honors Navy and Marine Corps servicemen who died at sea during World War I. It's in Lady Bird Johnson Park on the George Washington Parkway just north of the 14th Street Bridge. At first glance, from a speeding car, the GULLS AND WAVES may not look threatening. But if you park your car and sit there a while, you may come away with an appreciation for "those in peril on the sea." Nurses have their own section -- Section 21 -- at Arlington. A statue of nurse Jane Delano is dedicated to Army and Navy Nurses of World War I. De Resting nearby, also under perpeIt wasopen titual guard, are unknowns from World War II and Korea. Plans have been made to accommodate an unidentified soldier from Vietnam, but graves registration has become such an exact science there may be none. WORLD WAR II The best of the World War II memorials was inspired, in keeping with modern times, by an Associated Press photograph taken by native Washingtonian Joe Rosenthal. Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize for his picture of Marines carrying a flag up a rocky hill on a small Pacific Island called Iwo Jima. Sculptor Felix De Weldon used the photograph but also worked with live models, including three of the Marines who survived. A real flag and real rocks are incorporated in the work, officially called the MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL. It can be reached by taking the Fort Myer exit from U.S. 50. The Seabees, who built the infrastructure that won the war, have a monument on the approach road to Arlington Cemetery. It shows a bare-chested, muscular SEABEE leaning down to help a child. GI Joe, officially known as the AMERICAN LEGION SOLDIER, looks down from a building at 1608 K Street NW. Actually, an officer -- Lieutenant Hulton P. Whittington, a Medal of Honor Winner -- served as the model for the 13-foot soldier carved in limestone by Adolph Wolters in 1951. KOREAN WAR Washington has no real Korean War memorial, but the National Committee for the Korean War Memorial is working on one. Resolutions are now before both houses of Congress and an international competition is planned. The committee would like a site in the Tidal Basin area. ALL WARS Felix De Weldon, of Iwo Jima fame, also sculpted the bronze VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS MEMORIAL in front of the organization's headquarters at Maryland and Constitution avenues NE. This is a monument to all American wars from the Revolution through Vietnam. Scenes from each adorn a column topped by a bronze flame. There are short quotes about each war -- from Thomas Paine, Churchill, Matthew Ridgeway. The quote about Vietnam is De Weldon's own: "The missing will never be forgotten. Their glory will live forever."