The East Coast Memorial is dedicated to the 4,596 World War II servicemen lost in the Atlantic; a similar monument to those lost in the Pacific stands in San Francisco’s Presidio. Its centerpiece is a stylized eagle with a ferocious gaze swooping down to lay a wreath on the waves. The names of those lost are inscribed on eight enormous slabs placed between the eagle and the Harbor. Looking between the tablets, you can see (appropriately) the Statue of Liberty.
I like the fierceness of this memorial, which conveys not just grief over the lives lost but the idea that they were lost in a worthwhile cause, and that those who survived should rightly be proud to have fought and won.
For good measure, here’s some additional inspiration: a speech you probably read in high school, and haven’t thought of since. I used a line from it as a tweet on D-Day: it seemed entirely appropriate, although spoken 169 years earlier.
They tell us, Sir, that we are weak, - unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
Three millions of People, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, Sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire, it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable; and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come!
It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! -- Patrick Henry, March 1775