On really hot days like those this week, many people flock to outdoor fountains all over the Washington region, but that can be a problem at the national memorials when people decide to play in fountains.
Many fountains in the area are made to play in, and some, like the dramatic fountain at Meridian Hill off 16th Street NW, invite a variety of visitors on any day.
But at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, there’s a constant battle to keep people out of the water.
“The main reason we don’t let people in the fountains is because it’s a matter of respect,” said Carol Johnson of the U.S. National Park Service. “We have a lot of World War II veterans who are very distressed when they come there and they see people in the fountains.”
The problem is the worst at the World War II Memorial despite the increase from one sign to six, Park Service ranges say.
Next worst is the FDR Memorial. Before a Park Service crackdown, adults would bring children in bathing suits.
In addition to respect, the water isn’t sanitary.
“It’s recirculating water, and of course stuff gets in it, and it’s not filtered, it’s not chlorinated,” Johnson said.