The Pool of Remembrance
The Memorial has a reflective pool which is at the far terminus of the Memorial site. It encircles the Freedom Is Not Free Wall and Alcove at the base of which are numerically listed the soldiery cost of the war in terms of KIA, WIA, MIA and POW for US forces.
The Pool is encircled by a walkway along which benches are located. The subliminal message intended is to encourage visitors to view the Memorial proper, view the listing of casualties and then encircle the Pool and reflect on the human cost of war. The further intent is to cause the visitor to reflect that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!
Visitation practice suggests that a large majority of viewers do not associate the relationship between the casualties and the Pool. Most visitors don’t see the casualty figures as they are not prominent in view and it is difficult for visitors to relate the numbers to the Pool. Further, the pedestrian traffic in the alcove tends to discourage entering and most visitors bypass the alcove.
Accordingly, the subliminal message intended is too subtle and over 90% of visitors do not encircle the Pool. Thus, unless called to their attention, an almost impossible process, visitors depart the Memorial awed by the artistic message but unaware of the symbolic message. For most it is a work of art—not an honoring of those who gave life and limb to justify a Memorial.