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The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District, in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, is composed of predominantly Neoclassical buildings and structures, landscaped open space, and sculptural ensembles. The district is flanked on the west by Meridian Street, the primary north-south route running through the center of the city and on the east by Pennsylvania Street. Because of its location between two primary north-south traffic arteries, the Plaza provides a monumental entrance to the Indianapolis business district from the north.
The plaza, along with the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument, two blocks to the south, and the USS Indianapolis Memorial, five blocks west, comprise the holdings of the Indiana War Memorial Commission. The commission operates these facilities in pursuit of the inscription carved in stone above the main entrance to the World War Memorial:
"To commemorate the valor and sacrifice of the land, sea and air forces of the United State and all who rendered faithful and loyal service at home and overseas in the World War; to inculcate a true understanding and appreciation of the privileged of American citizenship; to inspire patriotism and respect for the laws to the end that peace may prevail, justice be administered, public order maintained and liberty perpetuated."