Steeped in national history, the East Coast is the location of the first colonies, where the Declaration of Independence was first drafted and signed, and where Martin Luther King peacefully demonstrated for civil rights with more than 200,000 supporters. It’s where our president resides and where our fallen soldiers are buried. Because of this, some of our nation’s most poignant and historical monuments and memorials are located on the east side of the country. Here, we’ve listed some of our favorites.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Many people do not know too much about the Korean War. In fact, many Americans ignored much of the conflict as it was occurring, according to history instructor and author, Melinda Pash. That is why it has gotten its name as the “The Forgotten War”. This unique structure, located in The Capital of the World, makes it a little easier to remember. On October 28th, 1986 the United States Congress approved the building of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission designed and constructed this tribute to those Americans who fought and devoted their lives in the war. Thick granite walls spanning 164 feet create a triangle and feature sandblasted photographic images. Inside that triangle, stainless steel members of the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force patrol the ground in full combat gear.
Independence National Historic Park
When hungry tourists arrive in Philadelphia, the first thing they may want to do is eat a cheese steak. But those who are hungry for knowledge should first visit Independence National Historic Park. Inside the park you may visit Congress Hall, the New Hall Military Museum, and Independence Hall, also known as “the birthplace of America” and where they signed the Declaration of Independence. Across the street from Independence Hall – but still part of the park – is the Liberty Bell Center, which houses the famous, 2,000 pound Liberty Bell. The bell was originally used to assemble meetings, but today it represents our country’s independence.
Known as “The Wall That Heals,” the Vietnam Memorial honors the United States service members who served in the controversial war. The structure’s black granite walls are filled with more 58,000 names of service members who lost their lives in the war or are still currently missing. This beautiful commemoratory opened to the public in 1982, in Washington D.C. and also includes the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and “The Three Servicemen.”
World War II Memorial
According to the National WWII Museum, there are only about 855,070 World War II veterans living today – out of the 16 million who served. As members of the Greatest Generation pass, we lose more and more memories and first-hand accounts of the deadliest war in human history. It is sad to say, but one day, all of these veterans will be gone. The World War II Memorial helps preserve such an important part of history. The number of people this memorial honors and remembers is staggering – from the 16 million who served overseas and the millions who showed support from the home front to the 405,399 Americans who sacrificed their lives. On April 29, 2004 it was opened to the public in Washington D.C. Its unique design features 56 granite pillars that are split between two half-circles that frame a rainbow pool with fountains.
A visit to this location is made even more special if you are lucky enough to be there when Honor Flight participants visit. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that flies veterans to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built for them and for their service. During their emotional visits, other guests salute, thank, and cheer for this special group as they share stories, remember the friends they lost, and bond with other veterans.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011, within a few days of the 48th anniversary of the march on Washington and King’s famous “I have a Dream” Speech. Located within a “stone’s throw” from where he gave his famous speech, the 30-foot statue stands in grandeur, carved into the Stone of Hope, which features 16 quotes from the Civil Rights leader. Since it’s opening in 2011, the site has helped more than five million visitors learn about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.