The New World War I Memorial

Until last month our country had no national memorial commemorating World War I.

In 1919 Congress debated constructing such a memorial, but aside from creating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, nothing was done. So, after the war it was up to towns and cities across the country to decide how to remember their dead. Some erected statues or plaques. Others tried a new form of remembrance called living memorials. These were places that commemorate the dead by having a practical function – such as a park, hospital, or clock tower.  If your town has a place called Memorial Stadium, Memorial Auditorium, or Memorial Hospital, chances are it was named to remember war dead.

WWI was a new type of war and it was pure savagery. Both the UK and France each lost more than a million people. So, when the war ends on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, those countries lost an entire generation of young men. The US was in the war for a bit more than a year in 1917 and 1918, but its losses were still significant: 117,000 dead.

The last WWI veteran, Frank Buckles of West Virginia, died at 110 years in 2011. And very few people are still alive when the war was fought. So, for me, the largest question about this memorial is: Why now? I think there are two reasons. First, there is no time statute of limitations on honoring service to one’s country. For instance, it took us 59 years to decide to memorialize the sacrifices made in WWII. Second, I believe we collectively long for a time when our wars were decisively won, with us as the victors, and with an exact end time. Such as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

David Shaw

When not showing visitors the District (that’s what residents call Washington) I enjoy reading, grilling, and traveling. I’ve been to nineteen countries and every state except Idaho and Nebraska. I am a Certified Master Guide of the Guild of Professional...

David Shaw Full Bio
Duration
2 hours
Group Size
2 to 8

Above It All - Washington National Cathedral

Washington National Cathedral is a Gothic masterpiece. Perched on a hill overlooking the city it is the second largest cathedral in the country and the 6th largest in the world. It is a living work of art filled with stained-glass, hand-carved wood, and wrought iron. While a modern structure (finished in 1990) it is constructed in the old-world way and has no structural steel.

from
55 USD
Duration
2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
1 to 8

Hidden on Capitol Hill

Few people think beyond the Capitol when they think of the Hill. This tour takes you to the heart of a neighborhood with a fascinating history that still speaks to us today. Learn about these famous locations from a former Capitol Hill resident.

from
250 USD
Duration
2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
1 to 8

Embassy Row: Divinity & Diplomats

Most Embassy Row tours don’t venture far beyond Dupont Circle. But ours does. We see it all from top to bottom. This stretch of Massachusetts Avenue used to be called Millionaires Row where Gilded Age robber-barons built grand mansions. Today those mansions house most of Washington’s embassies, along with private clubs and statues of world heroes such as Mandela, Gandhi, and Churchill – and we will be right in the heart of it.

from
250 USD