Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) introduces legislation to authorize establishing a Memorial on federal land in the District of Columbia or its environs. Similar legislation was introduced in 1989, 1991 and 1993.
President Clinton signs Public Law 103-32 authorizing the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish a World War II Memorial in the District or its environs.
The President appoints a 12-member Memorial Advisory Board (MAB), as authorized in Public Law 103-32, to advise the ABMC in site selection and design, and to promote donations to support Memorial construction.
The House and Senate pass Joint Resolution 227 approving location of the World War II Memorial in the Capital’s monumental core area because of its lasting historic significance to the nation. The President signed the resolution into law on October 25th.
ABMC and MAB hold their first joint site selection session attended by representatives of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the National Capital Memorial Commission (NCMC), the National Park Service (NPS), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Seven potential sites are visited.
The ABMC and MAB unanimously select the Constitution Gardens site as the most appropriate one out of the six alternatives.
The NCMC holds public hearings on the site for the World War II Memorial with consideration given to both the Constitution Gardens site and the Capitol Reflecting Pool site on Third Street.
The CFA concludes after a public hearing that the Constitution Gardens site would not be commensurate with the historical significance of World War II, and requests that further consideration be given to the Capitol Reflecting Pool and Freedom Plaza along with a new alternative, the traffic circle on Columbia Island on the Lincoln Memorial-Arlington Cemetery axis. The Rainbow Pool is discussed as a possible alternative site.
The ABMC proposes to the chairmen of the CFA, NCPC and NPS that the Rainbow Pool site with space on both sides of the pool be studied as a replacement for the Constitution Gardens site.
In a public meeting, the CFA unanimously approves the Rainbow Pool site with the understanding that design guidelines be developed in consultation with them.
During a public meeting, the NCPC approves the Rainbow Pool site on the condition that the Mall’s east-west vista formed by the elm trees bordering the Reflecting Pool would be preserved.
President Clinton dedicates the Memorial site in a formal ceremony that concludes the 50th Anniversary of World War II commemorations. A plaque marks the site as the future location of the World War II Memorial.
The ABMC and General Services Administration (GSA), acting as agent for the ABMC, announce a two-stage open design competition for the Memorial that closed on Aug 12th.
Four hundred and four entries are reviewed by a distinguished Evaluation Board that selects six competition finalists. The second stage competition closes on Oct 25th.
A Design Jury composed of distinguished architects, landscape architects, architectural critics and WWII veterans review the designs of the six finalists.
The Evaluation Board evaluates finalist design submissions and interviews the six design teams. Both the Design Jury and the Evaluation Board, independently of each other, recommend unanimously that the Leo A. Daly team with Friedrich St. Florian as design architect be selected. ABMC approves the recommendation on Nov 20th.
President Clinton announces St. Florian’s winning Memorial design during a White House ceremony.
Senator Bob Dole is named National Chairman of the Memorial campaign.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves many elements of the design concept, but voices strong concern over the mass and scale and the interior space of the concept as presented. The CFA requests that the design be given further study and resubmitted at a later date, but unanimously reaffirms the Rainbow Pool site.
In a public hearing, the NCPC reaffirms its approval of the Rainbow Pool site, but requests design modifications and an analysis of various environmental considerations prior to the commission’s further action on a revised design concept.
ABMC announces that Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Federal Express Corporation, will team with Senator Dole as National Co-Chairman of the World War II Memorial Campaign.
ABMC approves the recommendation of its Site and Design Committee that St. Florian’s revised design concept be forwarded to the CFA, the NCPC and the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Office for their action.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves the revised design concept.
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves the revised design concept.
ABMC approves the recommendation of its Site and Design Committee that St. Florian’s preliminary design be forwarded to the CFA and NCPC for their action.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves the Memorial’s preliminary design
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves the Memorial’s preliminary design
In a public hearing, the CFA approves the Memorial’s final architectural design.
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves the Memorial’s final architectural design.
A groundbreaking ceremony attended by 15,000 people is held at the Memorial’s Rainbow Pool site.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves several ancillary elements of the Memorial: an information pavilion, a comfort station, an access road and a contemplative area.
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves several ancillary elements of the Memorial: an information pavilion, a comfort station, an access road and a contemplative area.
Construction permit issued by the NPS.
The House and Senate pass legislation directing that the Memorial be constructed expeditiously at the dedicated Rainbow Pool site on the National Mall in a manner consistent with previous approvals and permits. President Bush signed the legislation into law (Public Law 107-11) on Memorial Day, May 28th.
The General Services Administration, acting as agent for the ABMC, awards a $56 million construction contract to the joint venture of Tompkins Builders and Grunley-Walsh Construction.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves the granite selections for the Memorial.
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves the granite selections for the Memorial.
Tompkins/Grunley-Walsh begin site preparation work at the Memorial’s Rainbow Pool site on the National Mall. Construction begins one week later.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves designs for flagpoles and announcement piers at the ceremonial entrance, and artistic enhancements to the field of gold stars. A proposed announcement stone design was not approved.
In a public hearing, the NCPC approves designs for flagpoles and announcement piers at the ceremonial entrance and an announcement stone at the east Memorial plaza, and artistic enhancements to the field of gold stars.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves concepts for 24 bas-relief sculpture panels, and requests that the announcement stone be designed for the ceremonial entrance of the Memorial rather than the proposed location on the plaza.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves the redesigned announcement stone at the ceremonial entrance, and endorses the thematic content of proposed inscriptions but recommends minor adjustments in their presentation.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves inscriptions for the Memorial.
In a public hearing, the CFA approves inscriptions for the Memorial.
The National World War II Memorial opens to the public.
The National World War II Memorial is formally dedicated in a ceremony that draws 150,000 people.
The Memorial becomes part of the National Park System when it is transferred from the ABMC to the NPS, which assumes responsibility for its operations and maintenance.
Friends of the National World War II Memorial (Friends) is incorporated.
Friends sponsors a “Tribute to World War II Veterans” on the National Mall, featuring documentarian Ken Burns, in partnership with WETA and Freedom Team Salute. The event coincides with Mr. Burns’ release of his documentary series, “The War.”
Friends hosts the first Veterans Day observance at the World War II Memorial.
Friends hosts the first Memorial Day observance at the World War II Memorial.
Friends enters into a cooperative partnership with the National Park Service (NPS). Friends takes on the lead responsibility in planning, staging, and funding major national commemorative events at the World War II Memorial on V-E Day, Memorial Day, V-J, Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
Friends introduces the annual World War II Memorial Concert Series, sponsoring free public performances of military bands at the Memorial from April through October.
Friends launches the Haydn Williams WWII Memorial Legacy Lecture, an annual public lecture series that features preeminent historians and others speaking on the lasting significance and impact of World War II on America and the world.
Friends and NPS co-host the National World War II Memorial 10th Anniversary Commemoration.
Friends launches annual summer teachers conference in Washington, DC.
Friends launches four-year WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration.
In September 2020, Friends received a generous gift from the Lilly Endowment to advance the project to restore the Circle of Remembrance and to add FDR’s D-Day Prayer to the World War II Memorial grounds. Support from the Lilly Endowment is vital to the achievement of these important goals.
On October 17, 2020, Friends held its first Monthly Virtual Education Conference. Made possible through a Department of Defense grant, this conference series occurs on the third Saturday of each month from October-March. Each installment features presentations from educators, veterans, orphans, authors, and scholars.
On February 14, 2021, Friends presented the first Brigadier General Charles E. McGee UNITY Award to Robin Roberts. The UNITY Award, named in honor of Tuskegee Airman Charles E. McGee, is presented to an individual or group that exemplifies the spirit of unity and shared values that were prevalent during World War II, when Americans were at their very best and most unified in the fight against authoritarianism, fascism, and racism.
On June 6, 2022, Friends anticipates the official opening of the restored Circle of Remembrance and the FDR D-Day Prayer at the World War II Memorial. This marks the successful end of a long campaign to make these important additions as initiated by Congress and President Barack Obama.