Monday, June 10, 2013

A Few More Monumental Monuments

As we continued our journey through the National Mall, we came across three more monuments. Up first was the Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument is the most prominent structure in Washington, D.C. The 555-foot, 5-1/8" marble obelisk honors the nation's founding father George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory, and then became the nation's first president under the Constitution.

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, occurred 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., damaging the Washington Monument. The National Park Service has temporarily closed the Monument and is assessing the damage to it. (Taken from
Were really bummed that we couldn't go up to the top of it, but I did get a bunch of photos. Ok, it kinda looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in this photo, ha ha.

I like this one much better.

If you look closely, you will see construction workers way up high.
and at the tippy top.

I was happy to get a shot of it in the reflecting pool, even though I somehow missed getting its top.

I was soooooo thrilled to see the Lincoln Memorial. It's been on my "bucket list" for awhile.
"In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever." Beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States-the Great Emancipator and preserver of the nation during the Civil War-sits immortalized in marble. As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.  
Abraham Lincoln's contemporaries did not require historical perspective to recognize his monumental impact on the nation. Lincoln not only saved the Union, preserving both its government and boundaries, he reinvigorated the nation's founding principle - that all men are created equal. No national memorial had been contemplated for any president except George Washington, yet talk of building one to Lincoln began even as he lingered on his deathbed. There was an obvious appropriateness to the concept that Lincoln, the preserver of the Union, should join Washington, the founder of that Union, in being honored on the National Mall. Even the location of the Lincoln Memorial reflects this great symmetry in thought and design. The Capitol Building lies on a direct line with the monument to Washington, the president at the time Capitol construction was begun, and with the memorial to Lincoln, the president at the time the Capitol finally was completed. However, the fitness of this location would not be realized for several decades after Lincoln's death. 
Until the late 1800s, the current site of the Lincoln Memorial did not exist and the Washington Monument marked the shoreline of the Potomac River. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deepened the river, the dredged silt deposited along its banks expanded the land to its current configuration. Almost immediately, the reclaimed land was proposed as the site for a memorial to Lincoln, but this nearly mile-wide swath of dredged mud formed an unappealing space. More and more people recognized the viability of the area after landscaping and engineering transformed its appearance by the early 1900s. The decision to place the memorial at its current location came in 1913, and construction was started the following year. Henry Bacon designed the building, Daniel French sculpted the statue, and Jules Guerin painted the two murals. Working together, they created an iconic symbol of our nation and our ideals. 
When the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922, the United States, although torn by the Civil War, felt unified as never before. Citizens of the North and South had fought together in a World War. They had shared the bloodshed and then the victory. As a result, the dedication ceremony celebrated, even reveled in the message of unity proclaimed by this memorial. Yet, as the ceremony exalted one thing, it largely overlooked another. Aside from the Union veterans in the soldiers' section, those attending the 1922 dedication ceremony were segregated along racial lines. It seems that some of the people who dedicated the building failed to dedicate themselves to its full meaning. Some may have chosen to forget the meaning of equality represented here, but the memorial remained steadfast in its advocacy for equality. 
This site continues to hold the meaning and to resonate with the message. In time, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave new voice to the meanings that reverberated through the stone. King had made himself heard from a jail in Alabama, and Albany, Georgia, and from the west side of Chicago. Yet, when many think of Martin Luther King today, they think of his speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As he gave the memorial new voice, the memorial responded and amplified that voice. The nation was reminded that it must remain dedicated to its founding principles. 
In 2009, the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth and the four score and seven year anniversary of the May 30, 1922 ceremony, the National Park Service held a rededication retrospective at the Lincoln Memorial. We realize that the building does not require rededication; it has remained dedicated to its purpose and to us. The memorial has been as steadfast as stone; it never has stopped delivering the message. It is for all Americans, rather, to be rededicated here to all the ideals and meanings this place represents. The Lincoln Memorial remains here, with timeless patience, reminding us every day that we must always strive toward a united, equal, and free society. We only need to listen. (Taken from

Even though I've seen a bazillion photos of it, the size of the memorial caught me by surprise. This will give you an idea of how humongous it really is.

Wanna be up-close and personal?

In my opinion, this is the most important part of the whole thing.

Next, we went in search of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the groundbreaking March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom witnessed the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It is fitting that on this date, reminiscent of the defining moment in Dr. King's leadership in the Civil Rights movement; in the form of solid granite, his legacy is further cemented in the tapestry of the American experience. His leadership in the drive for realization of the freedoms and liberties laid down in the foundation of the United States of America for all of its citizens, without regard to race, color, or creed is what introduced this young southern clergyman to the nation. The delivery of his message of love and tolerance through the means of his powerful gift of speech and eloquent writings inspire to this day, those who yearn for a gentler, kinder world . His inspiration broke the boundaries of intolerance and even national borders, as he became a symbol, recognized worldwide of the quest for civil rights of the citizens of the world. 
Seventeen quotes from Dr. King reach out in permanence along the granite wall facing the Tidal Basin. From his earliest work in the Civil Rights Movement to the days of advancement in the 1960’s, these words reflect the power of Dr. King’s words to inspire to the modern day. (Taken from

Not only is the actual carving incredible, but the grounds surrounding it are beautiful and tranquil. I'm always a sucker for purple irises. I had fun taking photos with different depths of field. 
I even found a pigeon to photograph for Miss Emma. She loves pigeons.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

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