Following World War I, the War to End All Wars, the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis elected to set aside five city blocks as a memorial plaza commemorating the end of the war and a future of peace and unity in the world. The centerpiece of the plaza is the World War Memorial. Although the political realities of the world have stymied those who truly seek peace and unity, the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza still represents that ideal.
The Indiana World War Memorial mimics the design of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. General John Pershing laid the cornerstone on July 4, 1927. However, several issues delayed the completion of the memorial until 1965. I was a part of one of the first grade-school classes that had a field trip to the memorial that year. Fifty years later, I returned for my second visit, long overdue, to marvel at this fine work of art.
(These captures show some significant details when magnified – click on any picture to zoom-in!)
The Indiana World War Memorial Plaza received the National Historic Landmark District designation on October 11, 1994.
The Shrine Room in the upper level of the memorial is 110 feet high and 60 feet wide on each side, and it utilizes building materials from all the allied nations of World War I.
The Altar of Consecration sits in the middle of the Shrine Room:
The blue stained-glass windows provide the solemn illumination to the chamber:
A seventeen by thirty-foot American flag hangs from the ceiling just below the Star of Destiny, made of Swedish crystal, representing the future of the nation.
Although the Shrine Room is the center of the memorial, there are other sections of the building that I will review over the next few days. Stay tuned!