Memorial Day 2013: War memorials a popular attraction

While President Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery Monday, others were paying tribute to the fallen nearby, and those emotional moments are coming at the memorials to the conflicts in which those men and women served.

“It’s very emotional,” says Anthony Ricciuti, whose father was in the Korean War.

“Just a real testament to how much respect we have for people who served the country,” says Shuron Morton of Baltimore.

People are drawn to war memorials in the nation’s capital each Memorial Day.

“It was crumbling, it had weeds, and they finally fixed it,” says Terry Wiernas of Texas.

Wiernas and her family came to see the D.C. War Memorial, which honors the 26,000 Washingtonians who served in World War I and the 499 who lost their lives in the conflict.

“I think all the wars should have a memorial for the people who served and gave their lives so we could be free,” she says.

A $7 million restoration has made the structure, which was built in 1931, new again.

Mike Curriden is a Vietnam veteran whose wife’s grandfather served in World War I.

“It was falling apart, it was horrible,” he says. “I’m glad that somebody spent some money to fix it up a little bit.”

With battle names etched in stone, the World War II Memorial draws the largest crowds.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” says Ricciuti.

For Ricciuti, the visit to the Korean War Veterans Memorial is very personal. Both his father and father-in-law served in the conflict. Its 19 statues appear to walk and crouch, as if preparing for battle.