'Spirit of American Youth' Statue – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

Washington, D.C.

'Spirit of American Youth' Statue

A replica of the famous memorial statue at the Normandy American Cemetery hides in an office building in downtown D.C. 

Donald Harcourt De Lue’s “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves” is one of the most moving sights as you enter the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. The memorial statue represents and watches over the 6,000-plus American souls who are buried in the cemetery, most of whom were young men killed during World War II.

Curiously though, if you’ve ever wondered what such a moving statue would look like in an office setting, all you need to do is walk over to the Homer Building on 13th Street NW in Washington, D.C.

Though not as large as the statue in Normandy, the Homer Building’s “Spirit of American Youth” is quite commanding, rising from the top of the staircase. Since most view it from several feet below, it can appear even more imposing than the statue in France, which is at ground level.

The plaque at the bottom, which can be viewed if you climb the stairs and get a glimpse of the statue’s backside, states that “this casting is third in an edition of 12 originals.” There are two other known castings of the statue. One is located at the Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale, California (which is larger, covered in gold, and has a scholarship dedicated to it) and the other at the First Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois (which is half the size of the statue at Normandy).

Know Before You Go

The entrance to the Homer Building, where the statue resides, is on 13th St NW and F St NW. The lobby is open during normal business hours.

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