I’m Just Curious: World War II Memorial in Pittsburgh

Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial

by Debbie Walker

When the Wandering Nanas were in Pennsylvania, in June, we were treated to an evening in Pittsburgh. We had gone to a casino and were then taken to dinner at Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 on the riverfront. (He was an important player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.)

When we were leaving the restaurant, we took time to look around and walk off some dinner before we got back in the car. We found a small World War II memorial in the nearby park on the banks of the river.

This is the South Western Pennsylvania World War II Memorial. It is made up of glass enclosed images, framed in steel and granite, of dozens of the region’s residents engaged in their war time activities, rather it was military or civilian.

“The images of the history of World War ll is seen through the eyes of veterans who lived it, their families and the people of Southwest Pennsylvania.”

The memorial is said to be “both an outdoor museum and a significant public art installation along Pittsburgh’s North Shore’. It was done in collaboration with over thirteen design consultants.

If you have a computer available to you look up the site: www.worldwar2pgh.org. You will find pictures and explanations about that period of our history.

BUT – no where on the computer will you find the feeling of walking through the memorial.

It was evening; the weather was perfect for a leisurely stroll across the park to view this … whatever it was. There was no admission fee, no one standing guard over it to supervise anyone’s behavior. People were talking however; their words were soft spoken. No “outside” voices (think children), just softly.

Nana Dee’s husband having been career Air Force, doing several tours of duty in war torn countries and my dad’s love and respect of the Navy, the memories they shared with us were suddenly remembered by us that evening.

Walking in this peaceful place brought one word to my mind: reverent. It seemed like everyone was as reverent as in a beautiful spellbinding cathedral, maybe even more so. Most people, I imagine, have some family memories involved with WW ll. I believe most everyone leaving the memorial had a renewed respect for all involved. I know we did.

The beginning of the end of World War ll came on August 14, 1945 (known as VJ Day), the day the Japanese surrendered, formal signing came on Sept. 2, 1945.

If you feel like celebrating on whichever day you can find this information on the internet at www.worldwar2pgh.org.

I am not just curious today; I am hoping you’ll forgive me with any of this information I may have made a mistake on. As always please contact me via dwdaffy@yahoo.com and thanks for reading!

P.S. If you have questions about rather a family member or friend was in World War ll, you may want to visit this sight: www.genealogy.com. You need to provide first, middle and last name, birth year and birth location. Let me know how you made out. Good luck in your search!


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