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Wow, dude this is weird.

I was at the WWII memorial on Monday at around 11a.m. Had the exact same thoughts that you had. The only thing I'd add to your post are the words there that I found most moving:

“We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

General George Catlett Marshall

I saw the memorial (on 9.29) as the sun was getting low in the sky, but before twilight. It was beautiful from the Lincoln Memorial at dusk.

I was concerned that it would detract from the Mall and the views; as you say, it adds to it.

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