The World War II Memorial, also known as the West Coast Memorial to the Missing, was built in the late 1950s above the Pacific Ocean by the American Battle Monuments Commission. It honors members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives in the Pacific coastal waters during World War II.
The names of 412 service men and women are inscribed on the curved granite wall that sits behind a statue of Columbia, the female personification of America often used in wartime imagery. The memorial was designed by two San Francisco architects, Hervey Parke Clark and John F. Beuttler, with famous landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who also designed the grounds of the Letterman Digital Arts Center. The Columbia statue was made by sculptor Jean De Marco in New York City. A dedication ceremony occurred at the memorial on November 29, 1960, where General John L. DeWitt and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz delivered addresses.
In recent years the damaged toe of Columbia was carefully restored. Because the toe could not be easily replaced, the foot was re-sculpted several inches back from the folds of Columbia’s dress. Currently there are plans to make the site more accessible with a new ramp and to restore some of the vegetation that originally framed the memorial.
Did You Know?
The memorial, made of California granite, is one of the few built by the American Battle Monuments Commission in the United States.