William C. Tripp Architect

World War II Memorial

Collaboration with Barry Lopez

Washington, DC
Competition 1996

We used the opportunity of the WWII Memorial design competition to design a memorial and two rituals to prevent war, to ensure the peace. Mr. Lopez wrote a story that was first published that year called In the Garden of the Lords of War, that dealt with the same theme: to keep war at bay.

Visit Barry Lopez' website here

A sacred grove. Leaves flutter in the air. The color of the leaves, their size and their abundance on the branches
announce the seasons. The roughening of the bark, and the girth and height of the trees, measure the passing
years. The living colonnade speaks to us each day of Peace. The trees, planted along the periphery of a
stone altar, surround a thin sheet of water reflecting the clouds and hues of the sky. Wind ripples the water.
Leaves float on it. Rain peens the surface. The moon gleams here. In winter, the water freezes blue-white
in the bare-branch shadows of the trees.

Each day of the year at first light, a United States Senator takes up several rice paper streamers. Each one is
inscribed with the name of one of the fallen. The Senator ties these paper cenotaphs into the branches of
the trees or sets them down to float on the water. Over time, wind and the seasons take the inscriptions.
If a Senator is unable to perform this act of homage when his or her turn comes around, only a member
of the Senator's immediate family may serve in their place.

If a President decides to send troops into battle after declaring a state of war, he or she must cut down all the trees.

When Peace returns, sapling trees are planted again,
and the ritual of honoring those fallen in World War II starts again,
from the beginning.