Photo of people wading in National WWII Monument causes uproar


“Yesterday, along with my husband, our two small children and a family friend, I visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. The memorial is a beautiful and poignant tribute to the more than 16 million Americans who served, and the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives, during this war.”

Photo from

Photo from

“Unfortunately, the scene that we encountered at this sacred memorial fountain was anything but quiet and reflective. Along the entire circumference of the fountain, we witnessed over one hundred people, from diapered babies to grown adults, wading and splashing in the water. People were taking selfies and posing for cameras, as if they were enjoying a relaxing day at the pool or beach.

But what was more appalling than the scene itself was that the entire fountain is surrounded by signs – one at least every 25 feet – that read, “Honor Your Veterans…No Wading”. For those tourists who don’t speak English, the sign also includes a picture of a stick figure standing in the water, with a red line drawn through it – a symbol that clearly translates.

The individuals enjoying a cool dip in the water that day were plainly choosing to ignore the request to show respect at this hallowed site for the sake of their own comfort, fun, and photo ops. At one point, I was so astounded by the scene that I stopped to take a photo as a mother and father stood in the water, laughing and posing while their preteen child captured the moment on camera. I have included that photo here.”

The post, not surprisingly, has caused a huge reaction online and on social media platforms. Most people seem to be outraged by the waders, while others ask, “what’s the big deal?”

What do you think?

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.