Photographs for Memorial Day, 2022

Today I want digress from Georgia photographers to share some photographs of memorials, and one biography and photograph, all dedicated to the fallen in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Merchant Marines. All but one of these photos are from the collection of the Library of Congress.

Carol M. Highsmith, photograph of Navy and Marine Memorial (aka Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial) dedicated to Americans lost at Sea, in Lady Bird Johnson Park, Columbia Island, Washington, D.C.; Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Lt. j.g. Barbara Allen Rainey; photo from U.S. Navy, “Celebrating Navy Women: Perseverance and Achievements,” page 112

Lt. j.g. Barbara Allen Rainey became the first woman to qualify as a U.S. naval aviator when she earned her Wings of Gold on Feb. 22, 1974, and was among the first women naval aviators to qualify as jet pilots. She was assigned to fly C-1s in Alameda, California, and became the first jet- qualified woman in the U.S. Navy to fly the T-39. She transferred to the Navy Reserve in 1977 until 1981, when she was recalled to active duty to help the Navy fill a shortage of flight instructors. She was assigned to VT-3 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Milton, Florida, flying the T-34C Mentor. On July 13, 1982, she was killed in a crash while teaching touch- and-go landings at Middleton Field near Evergreen, Alabama. [From “Celebrating Navy Women: Perseverance and Achievements”].

Carol M. Highsmith, photograph 2017; Missing Man monument at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas; sculpture by Mark Pritchett, dedicated 1977; Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The memorial my generation is most familiar with is the Wall with all the names of the 58,318 men and women who perished in the Vietnam War, 1959 – 1975. It was created by 21-year-old Yale architecture student Maya Lin, who won the design competition.

The sculpture of the three servicemen, and the Wall those soldiers overlook are powerful reminders of all the many we lost. The Wall was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1982, and on that day there was a 56-hour reading at Washington National Cathedral of all the engraved names of the dead. A pole at the monument carries the insignia of the five branches of the Armed Forces. Read about the Wall, and why and how it was created here.

The Three Soldiers, Vietnam Veteran Memorial, bronze sculpture by Frederick Hart, dedicated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984; Carol M. Highsmith, photograph 2006; Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
View of the Statue of the Three Soldiers, showing the wall in the distance. – Vietnam Veterans Memorial, West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.; photograph by Jack E. Boucher, 1996;  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division,  HABS DC,WASH,643–5

View from the top of the wall, looking toward the Lincoln Memorial. – Vietnam Veterans Memorial, West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.l photograph by Jack E. Boucher, 1996;  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, HABS DC,WASH,643–11

There is also, on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in a grove of trees, a memorial honoring women’s military service. The sculpture, designed by Glenna Goodacre, shows three nurses and one wounded soldier.

The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, dedicated on Veterans Day, November 11, 1993; Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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