gettyimages 71350633 The Marine Corps most prized memorial is about to get a facelift

A family walks around the Iwo Jima Memorial as the sun sets on July 1, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Chris Greenberg/Getty Images)

By Abigail Hartley

More than 1.5 million people every year visit the Marine Corps War Memorial, a larger-than-life bronze monument of the flag raising over Iwo Jima. Beginning in February 2018, those visitors will see the memorial as its never been seen before.

Renovations to the statue and the surrounding plaza began this week, which will “re-gild the engravings on the sculpture’s pedestal, wax the sculpture, and improve lighting, landscaping, and infrastructure,” according to a press release from the National Park Foundation.

The educational materials around the memorial will get a re-write to offer a more comprehensive understanding of the monument, and the infrastructure around the plaza will be rebuilt to handle the heavy traffic the memorial attracts. Philanthropist David Rubenstein made a $5.37 million dollar donation to the NPF in 2015 to enable the renovation.

Visiting the memorial this year? It’ll be open, but the view will look a little different. “The memorial will be surrounded by scaffolding during much of the project and the loop road and parking spaces will be closed,” the National Park Service said in a press release on Monday.

But don’t worry, the monument is still open to pedestrian traffic– just be ready to either take public transportation (it’s about a 13-minute walk from the Arlington National Cemetery Metro stop) or call a taxi or rideshare to get there.

In the meantime, we can all look forward to a revamped Iwo Jima memorial in 2018, with the rich educational resources and beautiful scenery that Marine veterans and their families deserve.

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