Nestled between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial is the World War II Memorial, a 7.4-acre site in Washington, D.C., honoring the 16 million American men and women who served in the war.
Eleven years ago, on April 29, 2004, the memorial opened to the nation and since then, hundreds of thousands of visitors and veterans from across the world have come to pay their respects.
In honor of the heroic men and women of World War II, we take a look back at some touching moments captured at the memorial over the past 11 years.
Sisters Leora Marcotte of Denver, 76, left, and Marian Butler of Omaha, 75, sing the National Anthem during the World War II Memorial dedication ceremony in 2004. Both of their husbands served in World War II. Leora’s husband passed away in 2000. Ray Butler attended the dedication. (Photo: Bahram Mark Sobhani/San Antonio Express-News/Newscom)
Ross E. Medos with Bugles Across America makes an impromptu playing of Taps on May 28, 2004, at the World War II Memorial. ”It’s just something I needed to do,” he said. (Photo: Bahram Mark Sobhani/San Antonio Express-News/Newscom)
A young tourist takes in the sacrifice and honor at the memorial. (Photo: Getty Images)
An emotional Laura Ballew, from Corpus Christi, Texas, sheds tears as she hugs Johnnie Okley at the World War II Memorial. Many visitors to the memorial became emotional as they greeted the Memphis area veterans that journeyed together with the Forever Young Senior Wish organization. (Photo: Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal/Newscom)
An Air Force flyover concludes the World War II Memorial dedication ceremony in 2004. (Photo: Bahram Mark Sobhani/San Antonio Express-News/Newscom)
Anthony Grasso, left, from Lynnfield, Mass., who served on the USS LST-775 in the Pacific during World War II, dances with Tanya Wohner before the dedication ceremony for the memorial in 2004. (Photo: John Pryke/Newscom)
World War II veteran Anne Greenberg, 85, of Phoenix poses with a photo of herself from 1943, at the World War II Memorial. (Photo: Yuri Gripas/Newscom)
Veterans from New York, Ohio and New Jersey are welcomed to the memorial by current servicemen and women in June 2014. (Photo: Katherine Cresto/CC BY-NC 2.0)
World War II veterans flown in to visit their memorial stormed the barriers at the World War II Memorial on the first day of a federal government shutdown in 2013. The memorial was initially closed, but reportedly forced opened by the veterans. (Photo: Jay Mallin/Newscom)
Addie Pearce, 9, honors the lives lost in World War II at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Delaware resident E. Vincent Lee, a World War II veteran and POW visits the memorial with grandson Charles McLeod in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2004. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Newscom)
A veteran takes a quiet moment to honor his peers. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Newscom)
Momentos are placed at the newly dedicated National World War II Memorial on Memorial Day in 2004. (Photo: Newsroom)
Herman Zeitchik and his wife share a kiss near the World War II memorial on June 7, 2014. Zeitchik, a World War II veteran who, as a member of the Fourth Infantry, landed at Utah Beach on D-Day, went on to liberate Paris (for which he received the French Legion of Honour), was at the Battle of the Bulge and helped in the liberation of Dachau concentration camp. (Photo: Katherine Cresto/CC BY-NC 2.0)
Washington residents greet veterans from New York, Ohio and New Jersey on June 7, 2014. (Photo: Katherine Cresto/CC BY-NC 2.0)