WASHINGTON (WATE) – The National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. honors the 16 million people who served in the U.S. armed forces and the more than 400,000 who died during World War II.
However, as the summer months approach, the memorial is also a popular spot for tourists to dip their feet in the pools or wade in them to escape the heat. A Washington Post article has sparked debate on whether it is appropriate to wade in the waters of the memorial.
“Still, there are many who are shocked by the scene of hundreds of tourists wading in the shadows of the memorial’s majestic stone slabs. To them, the contrast between the hallowed space of the memorial and the almost water-park ambiance is jarring,” writes Mary Hui in a Washington Post article.
National Park Service rules clearly state that visitors are not allowed in the pools. However, a park service spokesperson said there is not much officials can do other than encourage people to pay attention to the posted rules.
Some say they don’t think it is a problem to wade in the water. Tim Krepp, an author and tour guide in Washington D.C. said he thinks the memorials lively design makes people want to wade them and it is time to let them in order to celebrate the exuberance of the American spirit.
Holly Rotondi, the executive director of Friends of the National World War II Memorial told Hui that veterans and their families have also taken to splashing in the ponds. However, she said she received a call from a World War II veteran complaining about visitors dipping their their feet in the water, saying it was “very disrespectful to the generation” who fought in and lived through the war. And two years ago, a photo of a man changing a child’s diaper on the edge of the pool caused an uproar, she said.