The D.C. War Memorial was designed by Architect Frederick H. Brooke, with associate architects Nathan C. Wyeth and Horace W. Peaslee; all three were veterans of the Great War. A circular, open-air, Doric structure built almost entirely of Vermont marble, the memorial has an overall height of 47 feet and a diameter of 44 feet, large enough to accommodate the entire U.S. Marine Band. It was intended that the structure be a memorial and a bandstand and that each concert would be a tribute to those who served and sacrificed in the war. The memorial stands on a four feet high circular marble platform around which are inscribed the names of 499 Washington residents who died in service during World War I. The names were inscribed on the face of the platform in alphabetical order with no distinction made to rank, race, or gender. The D.C. War Memorial is the only District memorial on the National Mall. It symbolizes the unique distinction of Washington, D.C. as a local entity even though it is the Federal City. Construction was completed in 1931 and the memorial was dedicated by President Herbert Hoover on the national observance of Armistice Day, November 11, 193. World War I veterans, Gold Star Mothers, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans made up some of the thousands in attendance for the the dedication. Thousands more across the country listened to the live radio coverage. Other notable attendees were General John. J. Pershing and John Philip Sousa, a native Washingtonian and the former conductor of the U.S. Marine Band.
The inscription reads: The names of the men and women from the District of Columbia who gave their lives in the World War are here inscribed as a perpetual record of their patriotic service to their country. Those who fell and those who survived have given to this and to future generations an example of high idealism, courageous sacrifice, and gallant achievement.