The Saddest Places in America

  • Urban ruin in Detroit

    Detroit's Urban Ruin

    Nowhere is the decline of American industry more evident than in Detroit, the largest city in the country ever to declare bankruptcy. Once the center of the country's automobile industry, modern day Detroit is dotted with derelict buildings, from train stations to manufacturing plants, each a sad reminder of the economic hardships in America's "Rust Belt."

    Photo courtesy of Erik Mauer

  • A survivor salutes at the USS Arizona Memorial

    USS Arizona Memorial

    The USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, most commonly referred to as simply Pearl Harbor, commemorates the lives lost during the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II. Of the 1,177 sailors aboard the vessel, 1,102 of them died in the attack, and each name was inscribed in white marble within the walls of the memorial. Visitors can still see oil leaking from the wreckage just beneath the surface of the water.

    Photo courtesy of DVIDSHUB

  • Overlook at Trail of Tears State Park in Missouri

    Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

    In 1838 and 1839, the Indian Removal Act forced around 130,000 members of the Cherokee tribe, as well as several other tribes, to relocate from the southeastern United States to reservations in Oklahoma. More than 60,000 of them never finished the journey, as disease, starvation and exposure took their toll. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail includes 2,200 miles of trails along portions of the original path.

    Photo courtesy of steve9567

  • Field of Empty Chairs

    Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

    On April 19, 1995 the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed in a bombing that took the lives of 168 people, including 19 children and three pregnant women. The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum occupies the same grounds, dominated by the Field of Empty Chairs; each of the 168 glass and bronze chairs has a victim's name engraved on the bottom.

    Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul

  • A rose left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

    Vietnam Veterans Memorial

    As our nation's capital, Washington, DC houses half a dozen or more somber memorials, and one of the most poignant is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the National Mall. The most famous portion of the memorial is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a 246-foot long wall made from black stone with the names of service men and women who died or were missing in action etched into it.

    Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul

  • A cast taken from the original entrance to the Auschwitz death camp.

    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

    Twenty years ago, one of the nation's most somber museums opened its doors to the public in Washington, DC. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum takes visitors on a tragic journey through World War II from the perspective of an actual Holocaust victim. The 900 plus artifacts in the permanent collection include a freight car similar to the ones used to transport victims to concentration camps.

    Photo courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • A sunny day at the 9/11 Memorial in New York.

    9/11 Memorial

    The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City were the first foreign attack on US soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and caused the single largest loss of life on American soil by a foreign attack in our nation's history. The National September 11 Memorial honors the nearly 3,000 lives lost that day, including those killed at the Pentagon, in Pennsylvania and in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

    Photo courtesy of Harold Navarro

  • Memorial statue in Gettysburg National Military Park

    Gettysburg National Military Park

    Nowhere on American soil has more blood been shed than in Gettysburg National Military Park, site of one of the most important turning points in the Civil War. During the three-day battle, some 51,000 soldiers were killed, making it the deadliest battle of the entire war. Today, the eerily serene patch of rolling Pennsylvania farmland is operated by the National Park Service as a place of reflection and remembrance.

    Photo courtesy of Walt Hubis

  • Monument to the Marshall crash victims in Spring Hill Cemetery.

    Marshall University Memorial

    There's nothing quite as tragic as the loss of young lives, and that's exactly what the Memorial Student Center Fountain at Marshall University commemorates. On November 14, 1970, Southern Airlines took off from Kinston, North Carolina with nearly the entire Marshall University football team aboard. Just before landing, the plane crashed and burned, killing 75 people, including players, coaches, fans and the flight crew. The tragedy was profiled in the film We are Marshall.

    Photo courtesy of Mushadd

  • A memorial to the victims of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, CO

    Columbine Memorial

    On April 20, 1999, the nation was again struck by tragedy when twelve students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado were gunned down; the two shooters then committed suicide. The Columbine Memorial, opened in 2007, serves as a tranquil and beautiful tribute to the lives lost and the survivors of the massacre.

    Photo courtesy of Rob Evans

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