Have you heard of “living memorials”? A popular concept after World War II, they resonated with Depression-era and war time slogans and values such as “better living,” and intersected with the interest in urban planning that intensified during World War II.
In July 1945, Arlington County residents formed the Arlington War Memorial Association. The purpose of the organization was to “establish and maintain a useful memorial to the veterans of the present war and of all wars of our nation.”
The Arlington War Memorial Association aimed to build a living memorial—a memorial that would honor the sacrifice of Arlington citizens who served in a war, but also that would “become the heartbeat of the county contributing to everyone’s wellbeing.” They planned to do this by building a community center on Lee Boulevard, much like the one depicted in these images from a promotional flyer advertising Potomac Engineering Corporation's services for planning and building a living war memorial.
The Arlington War Memorial Association’s efforts ultimately failed. But you can learn more about their plans, and see these images in person, at the Center for Local History.
To see more items like these, or to learn more about Arlington's history, visit the Center for Local History on the first floor of the Central Library.
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