As the dedication of the World War II memorial nears, celebrations of all kinds are underway. They should include a remembrance of the late J. Carter Brown.

As chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Mr. Brown understood the importance of placing this memorial prominently on the Mall, and he suggested its site. He saw the opportunity to complete the east end of the Reflecting Pool and to return the Rainbow Pool to its designers' intentions. He also insisted on maintaining an uninterrupted view between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial while making the Wall of Honor a special place in the plaza's composition.

Mr. Brown reviewed and shaped every detail of the memorial. From the selection of the inscriptions, to the selection of and finish on the granite, to the detail on the oak and laurel bronze wreaths, he took great care to ensure design appropriateness, literary scholarship and historical accuracy. Even as his health failed, Mr. Brown was kneeling on the floor of sculptor Ray Kaskey's studio and peering up through a model of the powerful eagles that hang in the Atlantic and Pacific arches to be certain that they were just right.

When this great gift to the American people is dedicated, J. Carter Brown's role in making it so should not go unmentioned.



The writer succeeded Mr. Brown as chair of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.