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The Lone Sailor - The United States Navy Memorial, Washington DC


On Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue sits the impressive United States Navy Memorial.

This Memorial is designed around the 100-foot diameter granite map in the amphitheater floor. This map is made from a two inch layer of granite which weighs 27.71 pounds per square foot, and covers some 7,853.98 square feet to weigh in at 108.82 tons.

Dedication. The United States Navy Memorial
The following words are inscribed in the paving above the compass rose as you enter the Memorial.

In Honor of those who served to Forge

The Heritage of the United States Navy

In trubute to those who perished to provide peace

And security for out maritime nation

In Gratitude to those now serving.

Also embedded in the granite floor are these words spoken by President John F. Kennedy, on August 1, 1963 at the United States Naval Academy, Anapolis, Maryland.

Any man who may be asked in this century

What did he do to make his life worthwhile...

Can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction,

"I served in the United States Navy."

The Plaza
Circling the plaza is a ring of granite walls and steps, on which are inscribed important lessons and quotes from Naval History, eg. Whoever can hold the sea has has command of everything, Don't give up the ship, Damn the Torpedoes-- Full speed ahead, etc.

Bronze Relief Sculptures
Around the sculpture walls are spaces for the depiction of up to 22 historic Naval events, these are bronze reliefs showing aspects of the Navy, its people and their work, with titles such as: The Navy family, Navy Chaplains, Naval Aviation- First Ship takeoff, The Silent Service "Clean Sweep" WW11 Submarine Patrol returns, Navy Medicine, Women in the Navy, etc.

The Lone Sailor

The Lone Sailor.
Dominating the granite floor is a huge bronze statue of the LONE SAILOR, together with his Sea bag. The founders of the Navy Memorial envisioned :

The LONE SAILOR is 25 years old at most, a senior second class petty officer who is fast becoming a seagoing veteran. He has done it all-- fired his weapons in a dozen wars, weighed anchor from a thousand ports, tracked supplies, doused fires, repelled boarders, typed in quadruplicate and mess-cooked, too. He has made liberty call in great cities and tiny villages, where he played tourist, ambassador, missionary to the poor, adventurer, souvenir shopper and friend to new lands. His shipmates remember him with pride and tell their grandchildren stories, some of which, like him, are seven feet tall.

The Visitors Center
Below the Memorial itself is located the imposing Visitors Centre.

The homecomingThe Homecoming
Just inside the main doors is an imposing statue THE HOMECOMING. It shows a sailor, his wife and child, all rejoicing in his homecoming and safe arrival.

You descend stairs against the backdrop of the Wave Wall, which carries in illuminated relief, the profiles of 32 ships that span over 200 years of US Naval History. You now enter the Quarterdeck, where a granite frieze recalls the names of great battles, inlaid in gold. Yorktown,Tripoli, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal. At the end of this frieze the Persian Gulf gets a mention, before the freize ends, and we run out of space, there are the hopeful words NO MORE WARS.

Waters from the Seven Seas. Waters salted from the Seven Seas of the World, flow down a seven- step cascade on the corner pools of the Memorial.

The Gallery Deck
The Gallery Deck provides access to The Log Room, the US Presidents Room, the Arleigh and Roberta Burke Theater, and the Ship's Store.

Here in The Navy Memorial Log, are recorded the name, date and place of birth, dates of Navy service and highest rate or rank of any person entered in the Log who serves now or who ever served in the Navy. By the mid 1990's almost 200,000 Naval veterans, and their active shipmates, or their families, had each contributed $25 or more to record their names and service details into this unique document.

US Presidents Room
Used for meetings, special luncheons, fund raising dinners.

Who are the Navy's Presidents?

Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretaries of the Navy, Presidents who served in Naval uniform included: John F.Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush.

They are all honoured in this room with portraits depicting them at the time they served in the US Navy.

Arleigh and Roberta Burke Theater
Named after the three- term Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh A. Burke and his wife Roberta.

The seating here can cope with 241 people, and has seating for up to 9 handicapped patrons.

The Ship's Store
May be described as A Nautical Delight, filled with seagoing treasures.

On my last visit in September 2001, I succumbed to purchasing a small cushion, embroidered with: DON"T GIVE UP THE SHIP.

This refers to:-  The new Skipper and his ship USS Chesapeake were clearly no match for the British frigate HMS Shannon during their encounter in the war of 1812. Mortally wounded at the outset of the brief fight which ended in the capture of his ship, Lawrence was carried below uttering to his crew a battle cry that would inspire and save generations of sailors in battle but not his own command. Three months later in the battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry used the months later, in the battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry used the words of Lawrence on one of his battle flags.

Conclusion
If and when you make a visit to the United States National Capital, do make sure you visit this truly wonderful United States Navy Memorial.  You can find the Memorial's web site here.

You will be rewarded for your effort!

U.S. Naval Memorial, Washington, D.C,
U.S. Naval Memorial, Washington, D.C,

 

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This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness.  All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright 1984/2002  THE NAVAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA, INC and Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved