A summer-long tribute to the Greatest Generation

The memorial plaza and Rainbow Pool are the principal design features of the memorial, unifying all other elements.

The dedication of the National World War II Monument will take place May 29 in Washington, D.C. The monument itself is composed of a graceful succession of wreath-laden, granite posts surrounding a large reflecting pool, about equidistant from the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.

By Pamela Price/Special to the Malibu News

WASHINGTON, D.C.-To put World War II in perspective, start by considering the facts. One of the most important being that fewer than four million World War II veterans will be alive at the time of the dedication of the National World War II Monument on May 29, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Some 16 million served in the armed forces of the United States and the more than 400,000 who died while doing so are finally being recognized. Plans to create the long-awaited memorial began when President Clinton signed Public Law 103-32 on May 25, 1993, authorizing the American Battle Monuments Commission to establish the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II while at the same time acknowledging the commitment and achievement of the entire nation. The monument itself is composed of a graceful succession of wreath-laden, granite posts surrounding a large reflecting pool, about equidistant from the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.

The unprecedented 100-day dedication event has spawned other special events, exhibits, walking tours, theatrical presentations, hotel and restaurant offers, which will attract thousands of visitors to our nation’s capital this summer. Art, culture and history of the World War II era is on stage, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and it is as an important event for Washington as it is for the world.

The official dedication will take place May 27-30, including the dedication ceremony on May 29 at the National Mall, produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Commemorative services are planned and will concentrate on various military campaigns, from the Women Pilots of World War II at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (www.nmwa.org) to the Best of World War II Film Series at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (www.afi.com/silver). The Smithsonian Institution is producing a National World War II reunion on the Mall during the same time as the dedication, and for those intrigued by espionage, the International Spy Museum has planned exhibits on the Navajo Code Talkers and the intelligence failures surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Hotels throughout the “District” have designed a variety of packages for those who are planning on visiting this summer. One of the most generous deals is at the Park Hyatt Washington, a well-located, 223-room luxury European-style hotel. In the West End neighborhood, the hotel is about a 15-minute walk to the Memorial. Offered here is a “free night” celebration that can’t be beat. Its called “Stay Four Nights and Pay for Three.” Stay in deluxe accommodations at $325 per night and the fourth night is on the house. Goose down comforters, luxurious Robeworks robes and elegant bird’s eye custom maple cabinetry, as well as dining at the hotel’s award winning Melrose (the awards range from the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence to being named one of the Top Ten in the Zagat Survey), make this an especially appealing arrangement. The Hyatt is just 15 minutes from Reagan National Airport. Contact 800.778 7477 or visit www.parkhyatt.com.

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the District’s newest, has an introductory offer. Now through Aug. 31, guests are entitled to one complimentary night accommodation in conjunction with one or more paid nights on all water-view guest rooms (these range from $545 to $1,700). Contact 800.526.6566 or www.mandarinoriental.com.

Other summer promotional packages are available exclusively through the Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation (800.422.8644, www.americas greatestgeneration.com).They remind visitors that those making reservations through their office receive a special limited edition of Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning movie “Saving Private Ryan,” adding, “while supplies last,” and an official guide to the summer’s events, entitled “America Celebrates the Greatest Generation.” Hotels included in this offer range from the Hotel Monaco and Hay Adams to the hip George and more traditional Willard Intercontinental Washington.

Contact information: The World War II Memorial Dedication 800.639.4992, www.wwiimemorial.com

For a complete lineup of events, hotel packages and more, visit www.americasgreatestgeneration.com

Pamela Price is the co-author of “Fun with the Family in Southern California,” now in its fifth edition, published by the Globe Pequot Press (www.globepequot.com).