World War II Memorial

Washington State Capitol, Olympia, WA

The World War II Memorial was created as a monument honoring those who served during the war, particularly those of the nearly 6,000 Washington residents who gave their lives in battle. It was funded by the Washington State Legislature and housed on the grounds of the State Capitol in Olympia, Washington. Local Olympia artist and resident Simon Kogan was chosen from numerous applicants to design the monument.

Kogan used bronze, melted torpedo railings from retired warships, granite, and stone to design his monument in a more contemporary style, which was inspired by the first stanza of ‘America the Beautiful. It features five 14-foot tall bronze blades, which collectively work to reflect the shape of the capitol dome, which stands behind. Each blade represents one of the military units employed during the war. Four of the five feature shadowy figures of servicemen, which, upon closer inspection, are comprised of finely etched names of casualties. The fifth blade depicts a mother holding an infant, which does not feature names, representing future generations who were never born due to the war. Adjacent to the blades are 4,000 metal wheat stalks made from melted torpedo railings from old US Warships, which represent all who died in the war. Around the perimeter of the wheat sit five granite boulders, inscribed with the names of major battles and their years. Granite pavers containing personal messages from donors can be found surrounding the wheat. The memorial was completed in 1999, being dedicated on Memorial day of that year.

The monument has been treated on numerous occasions between 2002 and the present. From 2002 to 2007 the blades were periodically washed, waxed and buffed by hand. In 2007 Kogan expressed concern about deterioration of the monument. In 2010 the donor tiles were removed and refabricated due to deterioration issues. At the same time Kogan restored the entire memorial and recreated the ghost images on the blades.

EverGreene was contracted by the Architectural Resources Group and the State of Washington to conserve the World War II Memorial. The blade portion of the sculpture was thoroughly cleaned using a non-ionic surfactant and pressurized water to remove dust and debris. Existing patina and areas of corrosion were gently worked to create a more uniform patina appearance and to address previous improper repairs. The entire sculpture was re-patinaed to conceal areas of corrosion and unify the appearance. The surfaces were then topped with a protective coating of wax.  The wheat grass and memorial rock portion of the monument was cleaned with pressurized air to remove debris and any masonry surfaces treated with a biocide to address biogrowth. The grasses were then treated with a corrosion inhibitor. EverGreene was also contracted to create a maintenance plan, which supports future care and conservation of the monument.