7. West Portico
The design of Memorial Amphitheater symbolizes the national meanings of sacrifice and references important aspects of American history. The Amphitheater’s neoclassical, Beaux Arts style evokes the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, drawing a visual analogy between the United States and the democracies of the classical era. At the same time, its resemblance to other government buildings in Washington D.C., and to architecture of the early federal period, make it seem quintessentially American. The Amphitheater’s inscriptions, meanwhile, suggest that American service members have given their lives for a greater national purpose.
Dignitaries are greeted here, at the west portico, and led to the reception hall before laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The building was laid out in line with the nearby USS Maine Memorial, so that anyone standing on the stage of the Amphitheater can see the mast of the Maine rising over the west portico.