THE WAR MEMORIAL CENTER
Open to the public on Veterans Day 1957, The War Memorial Center in Milwaukee is a stunning lakefront facility that pays tribute to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom, while remembering and sharing the personal experiences and sacrifices of all veterans, their families and our partners in arms. Enthusiastically supported by an engaged community, the facility has a collection of permanent, rotating and visiting exhibits of patriotic, military and war-related historic and contemporary themes that connect citizens with veterans and their experiences. It is a place to educate our youth and adults about the importance of national service and provide an oasis for veterans in need of assistance. The unique setting provides an unmatched venue to celebrate one’s special event and create lifelong memories.
The initial idea and execution of the memorial was put together by Zonta, Altrusa, Business and Professional Women’s Club, and the Milwaukee Civic Alliance. These professional women organizations wanted to find a meaningful way to remember and honor those soldiers who would not make it home. An initial study conducted in the mid-1940s indicated a threefold need: 1) Meeting facilities for veteran, civic and cultural groups (War Memorial Center); 2) an art center (Milwaukee Art Museum); and 3) a music hall (Marcus Center for the Arts). Two entities from Eliel Saarinen’s original design, the War Memorial and the Art Museum, were married with a memorial piece of art, Edmund Lewandowski’s 1,440,000-piece glazed tile mosaic featuring Roman numerals representing the dates of World War II and the Korean Conflict: MCMXLI (1941), MCMXLV (1945), MCML (1950), MCMLIII (1953).
Present day, the War Memorial Center has eighteen memorials dedicated to honoring our veterans. The latest edition is the Honor Gallery.