I may be in the minority, but I am pleased with the National World War II Memorial. No, it does not touch the emotions as easily as do the Vietnam or Korea memorials, but to my mind that is to the good.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial -- the Wall -- and the Korean War Memorial are appropriately reverential to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to whom they are dedicated; they are also poignant statements of the divided opinions of both wars.

World War II was different. After Pearl Harbor, no one debated America's entrance into the war. The "greatest generation" never clamored for a memorial. That it exists now is partly a later generation's tribute to its fathers and grandfathers. I think that my grandfather, a medic in the Pacific who never spoke a word about his experiences on Guadalcanal except to say he was there, would have been most pleased with the memorial's quiet majesty.

It sits, as it should, prominently on the Mall, bearing silent witness to the most destructive war the world has ever known and to the men and women who gallantly served our country in it.




Jim Deutsch ["War Party Planner," Style, May 24] needs to gather up all the docents from the Smithsonian Institution that he can muster to help explain the laurel wreaths, the wheat and oak, the birds (which are eagles, but their heads and beaks are covered by the ribbons), the bas-reliefs and especially the stars (some visitors think there are too few stars) on the National World War II Memorial. If docents are posted around the memorial, they can help visitors understand and appreciate what they see.

Although I grew up on a farm, raised wheat and still have my ration stamp booklet, I missed a lot of the "art" when I visited the memorial. Now that the memorial is a reality, we must make the best of it. Upon leaving, we still can glimpse our elegant but simple Jefferson and Lincoln memorials with their pools of water for our reflection and remembrance.

Folding chairs for folks who feel faint, large paper umbrellas for battling the hot sun and some water also would help people survive their visit.




As a son of a World War II veteran, I was appalled to see how hordes of visitors showed disrespect for the new memorial by wading and swimming in the fountains.

Does it take signs in the fountains to say "No Swimming"? Give me a break.


Pompano Beach, Fla.


What kind of planning would it have taken for the Washington Monument grounds to be resodded in time for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial, the date of which has been known for months -- even years?

What we have now is a desert-like wasteland.