World War II Memorial
memorial consists of six bronze figures representing the branches of
service in which South Dakotans served during WWII. They are
portrayed as warriors fresh from battle; the memories burnt into
them of the horrors and atrocities of war as well as, the acts of
selflessness, bravery and valor. They are not intended to be spit
and polish soldiers on parade, rather warriors in the field of
honor. They are to be a reminder for all of us what would the world
be like today if the United States of America and the Allied
countries had not prevailed in World War II. They are set on a
peninsula that was constructed into Capitol Lake. The bronze
warriors will face the current Korean and Viet Nam Memorials and
flaming fountain. The figures are from 6 feet to 6 feet 7 inches in
height. They weigh close to two tons. A native Dakota granite stone
is in front of the bronzes and is inscribed with “South Dakota WWII
Warriors: Why they fought—For Flag—For Country—For All of Us.”
Korean War Memorial
North Korean and Chinese borders, United States troops faced a
surprise invasion by the Chinese Communists. More than 125,000
troops swept down on the U.S. force of 25,000. During that battle
alone, U.S. troops sustained more than 6,000 casualties. The
horrific winter conditions caused more than 6,000 cases of
frostbite. U.S. forces stopped the huge enemy force then retreated
back to the south before resuming a war that lasted three years.
Korean War was an extremely bloody conflict. The United States lost
54,000 troops in just three years, nearly as many as those lost in
the decade-long Vietnam War. There were an estimated 1,313,000
casualties and one million refuges during this 'Forgotten War'.
their comrades from WWII, the Korean veterans returned to life in
the states without fanfare or acclaim. Even though Korean War
veterans’ heroic efforts were not derided like those of the Vietnam
Veterans, Korean War Vets were often ignored by the American public.
This was partly due to the political peace that never set a
victorious outcome to the war.
South Dakota Korean War Memorial portrays a brave American GI
devastating enemy forces and artic weather during the Chosin Battle.
The soldier is still fighting as he glances over at his fallen
brethren, their names now upon a wall. He is low on ammunition,
frostbitten, tired and unshaven, but with a look of determination,
he gives the soldiers a Centurion salute and completes his mission.
Vietnam War Memorials
recent addition to the State of South Dakota's Memorials is the
Vietnam War Memorial.
The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial is a tribute to the
veterans who returned home from the war to fight a sometimes more
painful battle on the homefront. Vietnam was the first war to be
brought directly to the American public’s living room with an
unending display of graphic imagery: U.S. soldiers firing at unseen
enemies in jungles and across rice paddies; medics dodging enemy
fire to reach the side of a young soldier covered in blood and near
death; and clouds of black smoke rolling skyward from the burning
huts of a village destroyed to keep it out of the hands of the
Vietcong. The merits of the war were not just debated at podiums and
in war rooms but over dinner tables, in the streets and in the field
As casualties increased and the war grew ever more unpopular in
the United States, Vietnam soldiers heralded as heroes in the
jungles were condemned as no better than criminals in their
hometowns. The South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial takes one soldier,
as a symbol of the many South Dakotans who served during this
violent conflict, and elevates him to the status they all deserve:
brave individuals who served their country at a time when it took as
much courage to come home as it did to fight.
unveiled at the Vietnam War Memorial Dedication was a statue of an
American Eagle. This bronze work was specifically dedicated to South
Dakota's native American population, and their immense contributions
to our Nation's armed forces in time of war.
eagle finishes out and joins the two sections of granite panels
memorializing South Dakota's casualties during the Korean and
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