Ceremony marks 20th anniversary of National World War II Memorial

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Among the six World War II veterans on hand for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial were, left to right in the front row, Les Jones, Callan Saffell, Frank Cohn and Jeffrey Donahue,, May 25, 2024 in Washington. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)


WASHINGTON — When the National World War II Memorial was dedicated 20 years ago this week, hundreds of members of the “Greatest Generation” roamed the National Mall, seeking out old friends and marveling at the new monument to their efforts to defeat the Axis powers.

Saturday morning, the toll of time was evident as six World War II veterans were on hand to mark the anniversary. While millions of men and women served in the war, the number of survivors is now in the tens of thousands.

“We commemorate not only the 20th anniversary of this magnificent monument,” said Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady, “but also the timeless legacy of courage, toughness and grit that it represents.”

World War II Merchant Marine veteran Dave Yoho hugs Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II Merchant Marine veteran Dave Yoho hugs Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

The 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

The 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II Army veteran Col. Frank Cohn , left, talks with Patrick McCourt, center, and Sidney Wade before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II Army veteran Col. Frank Cohn , left, talks with Patrick McCourt, center, and Sidney Wade before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

The U.S. Army Brass Quintet plays at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024.

The U.S. Army Brass Quintet plays at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II Navy veteran Les Jones salutes as he's recognized during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024.

World War II Navy veteran Les Jones salutes as he’s recognized during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes“)

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady singles out the veterans on hand for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher Grady singles out the veterans on hand for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II Navy veteran Callan Saffell salutes during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II Navy veteran Callan Saffell salutes during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

The Armed Forces Color Guard arrives for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

The Armed Forces Color Guard arrives for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II veteran Jeffrey Donahue salutes during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II veteran Jeffrey Donahue salutes during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II veterans Les Jones, left, and Dave Yoho share a laugh before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II veterans Les Jones, left, and Dave Yoho share a laugh before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Members of the U.S. Army Brass Quintet are joined by a fan as they get ready for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024.

Members of the U.S. Army Brass Quintet are joined by a fan as they get ready for the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II Navy veteran Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Donahue, age 100, poses for a photo before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II Navy veteran Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Donahue, age 100, poses for a photo before the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Paul of the U.S. Army Band plays Taps during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Paul of the U.S. Army Band plays Taps during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Paul of the U.S. Army Band prepares to play Taps at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Paul of the U.S. Army Band prepares to play Taps at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Veteran Les Jones receives a Greatest Generation coin from U.S. Miny Chief Counsel John Schorn at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Veteran Les Jones receives a Greatest Generation coin from U.S. Miny Chief Counsel John Schorn at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Veteran Jeffrey Donahue holds up a Greatest Generation coin during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Veteran Jeffrey Donahue holds up a Greatest Generation coin during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who in 1987 introduced the legislation that started the ball rolling for the National World War II Memorial, speaks at the 20th anniversary celebration of the memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, who in 1987 introduced the legislation that started the ball rolling for the National World War II Memorial, speaks at the 20th anniversary celebration of the memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, was honored with the fourth annual Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee UNITY Award, in recognition for her efforts to bring the memorial to the Mall. She introduced legislation in 1987, but it took 17 years to overcome the numerous bureaucratic and financial hurdles standing in the way.

Those on hand were also told about the U.S. Mint’s Greatest Generation commemorative coins, from which a portion of the revenue will be used to help the memorial.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, thanks Yvonne McGee after receiving the 4th annual Brig. Gen. Charles McGee UNITY award at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. The award honors Yvonne McGee’s father, a Tuskegee Airman who went on to fly in three wars.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, thanks Yvonne McGee after receiving the 4th annual Brig. Gen. Charles McGee UNITY award at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. The award honors Yvonne McGee’s father, a Tuskegee Airman who went on to fly in three wars. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

A poster promotes the new Greatest Generation coins during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

A poster promotes the new Greatest Generation coins during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

World War II Navy veteran Les Jones and the Armed Forces Color Guard await the start of the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

World War II Navy veteran Les Jones and the Armed Forces Color Guard await the start of the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Chaplain Travis Gardner and veteran Jeff Donahue place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Chaplain Travis Gardner and veteran Jeff Donahue place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Veteran Les Jones reads theribbon on the wreathh he has just placed during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Veteran Les Jones reads theribbon on the wreathh he has just placed during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Jeff Reinbold and memorial design architect Friedrich St. Florian place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Jeff Reinbold and memorial design architect Friedrich St. Florian place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

American Gold Star Mothers First Vice President Patti Elliott, left, and National President Pam Stemple place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

American Gold Star Mothers First Vice President Patti Elliott, left, and National President Pam Stemple place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Veteran Frank Cohn, and Melissa Durbin (granddaughter of veteran Roger Durbin) plcae a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Veteran Frank Cohn, and Melissa Durbin (granddaughter of veteran Roger Durbin) plcae a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Rep. March Kaptur, D-Ohio, Adm. Christopher Grady and veteran Les Jones prepare to place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

Rep. March Kaptur, D-Ohio, Adm. Christopher Grady and veteran Les Jones prepare to place a wreath at the 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

The 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024.

The 20th anniversary celebration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, May 25, 2024. (Joe Gromelski/Special to Stars and Stripes)

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