If you have HBO (or access via Amazon Prime), I'd highly recommend you watch the 10 part mini-series produced by Spielberg and Hanks called "The Pacific."
It's like Saving Private Ryan, but more people.
I walked away with an understanding of "The Greatest Generation" and how they built America post-war, given what happened during the war in the Pacific.
My background in Japan added some color, but this series was just so informative and told the story so well that, literally, I was crying at the end of it.
It made me think of my own Poppy who served in the Army Air Corps in China. Not quite the same, but so appreciative of his and others' sacrifice..and of the immense numbers who didn't make it.
Next time you are in DC, go to the WWII Memorial as well. The names of remote Pacific islands will have newfound meaning for you.