The Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) is memorial established by the U.S. federal government which honors women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The memorial is located at the western end of Memorial Drive at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States. The structure in which the memorial is housed was originally known as the Hemicycle, and built in 1932 to be a ceremonial entrance to the cemetery. It never served this purpose, and was in disrepair by 1986. Congress approved the WIMSA memorial in 1985, and the Hemicycle approved as the site for the memorial in 1988. An open design competition was won by New York architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi. Their original design was leaked to the public, and caused significant controversy. Two years of fund-raising and design revision followed. A revised preliminary design was approved in July 1992, and the final design in March 1995. Ground was broken for the memorial in June 1995, and the structure dedicated on October 18, 1997.
The memorial is notable for its successful mixing of Neoclassical and Modern architecture. The memorial largely retained the Hemicycle, but added a widely praised skylight on the Hemicycle terrace that incorporates not only memorials to servicewomen but also acts as a transition to the memorial below. Construction of the memorial, however, generated a lawsuit when a nearby pylon (part of the gateway to the cemetery) was damaged. Raising funds to pay off the construction
The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people. The Second World War is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis.