Known as an easily walkable city with a compact, easy-to-navigate city center, Indianapolis contains the second most number of war memorials in the United States behind Washington DC. Indianapolis’s war memorials observe the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. In addition, Indianapolis memorializes all U.S. Medal of Honor recipients, 9/11, and the USS Indianapolis (sunk in World War II).
In one day, visitors can easily walk from memorial to memorial, with most in a seven-block line extending north through downtown and a handful of others located along Indianapolis’s scenic Canal Walk.
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Built in 1902 to memorialize Indiana’s Civil War veterans, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands 284 feet tall in the center of Indianapolis – right in the middle of Monument Circle. Television sports broadcasts almost always include a picture of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Recently the TV show “American Ninja Warrior” constructed its first-ever curved obstacle course around the monument.
The monument has a small gift shop inside as well as an elevator and stairway that lets you go to the top. Providing the best public view of Indianapolis, the observation deck is 275 feet off the ground and offers views each direction out of the top of the monument.
The monument is generally open Wednesday through Sunday during warmer months and only Friday through Sunday during colder months. It is free to walk up the stairs but costs a small fee to use the elevator. Please note that even if you pay to use the elevator, you will have to climb a small number of steps at the top. Also note that the monument gets tighter as you go up and might not be ideal for people who don’t like small spaces.
Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum
This museum is located in the bottom level of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Its entrance is on the west side (while the monument’s observation entrance is on the south side). The Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum hosts 9000 square feet of artifacts from the Civil War. Admission to the museum is free and usually has the same hours as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
Indiana War Memorial
Built to honor Indiana veterans of World War I, the Indiana War Memorial honors Hoosiers who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions. Inside the memorial is the Indiana War Museum which has thousands of historic and modern military artifacts, a unique battle flag collection of over 400 flags, and the Shrine Room which is full of objects commemorating World War I. Museum admission is free and is open Wednesday through Sunday during the day.
Veteran’s Memorial Plaza
Veteran’s Memorial Plaza is anchored by an obelisk and part of a large green space that is used for festivals and special events. The obelisk is similar to the Washington Monument in Washington DC (though much smaller and without the ability to go inside of it). Veteran’s Memorial Plaza honors all fifty states with their flags.
American Legion Mall
This green space is so named because the American Legion’s national headquarters sits on one side while the American Legion’s Indiana headquarters sits on the other side. Within the green space are small memorials for World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, as well as Cenotaph Square (which memorializes the first U.S. life lost in World War I). Each memorial lists the names of Hoosiers who died in those wars.
Medal of Honor Memorial
Sitting right beside the canal (near the Indiana State Museum), the Medal of Honor Memorial is the only memorial in the United States that lists and honors all recipients of the U.S. Medal of Honor. The glass memorial is lit at night and has a motion-activated recording that plays, telling the stories of some of the recipients.
Containing two steel beams from the World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial remembers the attack on 9/11. In addition to the beams are two black granite walls that observe the attack. The 9/11 Memorial is located along the canal a block east of the Medal of Honor Memorial.
USS Indianapolis CA35 Memorial
Sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1945 and recently memorialized in a movie starring Nicolas Cage, the USS Indianapolis delivered critical atomic bomb parts in World War II shortly before it sank. Most of the men aboard the ship died and this memorial (located at the north end of the canal) honors their loss.
This information is provided by Short and Sweet Introductions. Visit www.shortandsweetintroductions.com/indy for more information like this and to learn about more vacation destinations in the American west.