Ranger polices disrespectful visitors.

Independence Day Outrage: New Americans Refuse to Honor Country's War Dead

As throngs of Americans descend on our nations capital for the 4th of July celebrations, we cannot help but notice with shame and outrage the disrespect some are showing our war dead.

A visit this weekend to the National World War II Memorial in Washington DC shocked us. In contrast to the Washington Monument, which has many rules of conduct (no guns, knives, mace, large suitcases or animals), the World War II Memorial only seems to have one wish. Numerous small signs around the large central fountain ask simply: "Please respect the memorial. No wading. No coins."

And yet dozens of Americans, or American-looking people of some sort, were splashing about in the memorial, like it was their own personal fire hydrant. A park ranger circled the fountain, showing bathers the closest sign, and asking them to respect the brave men and women of the greatest generation who fought to save the world from tyranny.

Sign - Please respect the Memorial. No Wading. No Coins.

But invariably, as soon as he left, back in the drink they plopped. We witnessed the ranger's increasing agitation as he scolded the same people on his second tour of the place. It wouldn't surprise us if the kids were peeing in the memorial when he turned his back.

Is it illiteracy? A disrespect for the fair principals of American monument and memorial decorum? 21st Century selfishness (we noticed no one had any problem obeying the No Coins part of the request)? In any case, this outrage should serve as fair warning to future builders of monuments to our Gulf Wars and North Korean invasion -- if you use water to mark the price of freedom, don't be upset when the tempest-tossed start washing in it.

Dissenting Opinion: Not so fast! We could argue this is exactly what our soldiers risk their lives for. In a less free country, that ranger might be putting bullets into the heads of waders. We should be proud to see Americans of all lands of origin sloppily frolicking in the Fountain of Freedom.


War dead fountain under assault.

17th St. SW, Washington, DC
17th St. SW and Independence Ave SW. between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
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