In his May 28 op-ed column on the World War II Memorial, Charles Krauthammer said that during the war America transcended "geography" and that "[i]ts fighting units mixed young men from every corner of America."

That's untrue. As The Post has reported [Metro, May 26], black U.S. soldiers were forced to serve in segregated units, most were not allowed to fight and many were subjected to the humiliation of seeing our enemies afforded privileges denied to black Americans. The Korean War was the first in U.S. history to transcend geography, class and ethnicity because it was the first war in which all Americans, regardless of ethnicity or race, fought together.

Americans have a tendency to engage in a bit of selective memory regarding "the good war." We want so badly to honor those who fought in World War II that we don't want to soil the memory of their sacrifice by mentioning the racial oppression that our own government and armed forces were responsible for at the time we were fighting for freedom around the world.

My grandfather served in Italy; I honor the sacrifices of our World War II soldiers. But I'm more proud of the armed forces we sent to Korea (and thereafter) because for the first time, we truly fought as one nation.




Charles Krauthammer claimed that state (and town) did not matter in World War II. He might want to ask the people of Bedford, Va., about that. Because of its connections to the Virginia National Guard, the town lost more than two dozen of its sons on D-Day.

Mr. Krauthammer also should read James Bradley's "Flags of Our Fathers" about Iwo Jima and the death of Franklin Sousley, one of the flag raisers at Mount Suribachi and a son of Kentucky. That book would give him some idea of how Americans in that war did carry a loyalty to state -- in part because many served in National Guard units (by state) or enlisted with hometown buddies in the Marines so they could serve together. The five Sullivan brothers, who served together on a Navy cruiser, were Iowans. Did that mean something to them -- and to the people of Iowa?

Mr. Krauthammer's diatribe about what constitutes memorial architecture was misguided. The memorial is about a nation's attempt to give a belated thanks to the millions of men and women who risked everything they had in a fight to the death. We now can walk that plaza and contemplate that sacrifice, giving thanks to those still with us for what they did for us 60 years ago.




Charles Krauthammer's complaint about the uninspiring, monolithic blandness of the World War II Memorial on the Mall is well taken. Had the monument been built in 1946, we would be looking at bronzes of courageous soldiers and Marines carrying American flags up mountain peaks. A museum probably would show events such as the bombing of Dresden, emaciated American POWs, the atomic bomb, etc. Today we must content ourselves with a pablum of political correctness.