Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials

After visiting the Untied States Holocaust Memorial Museum, we decided to walk along the National Mall. The first monument we came across was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. (The following info is from the National Park Service.)

"The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, modeled after the Pantheon of Rome, is America's foremost memorial to our third president. As an original adaptation of Neoclassical architecture, it is a key landmark in the monumental core of Washington, DC. The circular, colonnaded structure in the classic style was introduced to this country by Thomas Jefferson. Architect John Russell Pope used Jefferson's own architectural tastes in the design of the Memorial. His intention was to synthesize Jefferson's contribution as a statesman, architect, President, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, adviser of the Constitution and founder of the University of Virginia. Architects Daniel P. Higgins and Otto R. Eggers took over construction upon the untimely death of Pope in August 1937. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission was created to direct the erection of a memorial to Thomas Jefferson by an Act of Congress approved in June 1934. The present-day location at the Tidal Basin was selected in 1937. The site caused considerable public criticism because it resulted in the removal of Japanese flowering cherry trees from the Tidal Basin. Further controversy surrounded the selection of the design of the Memorial. The Commission of Fine Arts objected to the pantheon design because it would compete with the Lincoln Memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Commission took the design controversy to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who preferred the pantheon design and gave his permission to proceed. On November 15, 1939, a ceremony was held in which President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Memorial.

"In 1941, Rudolph Evans was commissioned to sculpt the statue of Thomas Jefferson. The statue of Jefferson looks out from the interior of the Memorial toward the White House. It was intended to represent the Age of Enlightenment and Jefferson as a philosopher and statesman. The bronze statue is 19 feet tall and weighs five tons. Adolph A. Weinman's sculpture of the five members of the Declaration of Independence drafting committee submitting their report to Congress is featured on the triangular pediment. Also noteworthy, and adorning the interior of the Memorial, are five quotations taken from Jefferson's writings that illustrate the principles to which he dedicated his life.

"Few major changes have been made to the Memorial since its dedication in 1943. The most important change to note is the replacement of the plaster model statue of Thomas Jefferson by the bronze statue after the World War II restrictions on the use of metals were lifted. Each year the Jefferson Memorial plays host to various ceremonies, including annual Memorial exercises, Easter Sunrise Services and the ever-popular Cherry Blossom Festival. The Jefferson Memorial is administered and maintained by the National Park Service."

I had so much fun taking photos. It's actually pretty difficult to take photos in the National Mall without tree branches in them. My good telephoto lens let me get some up-close-and-personal architectural shots. I was in photographer-wanna-be heaven!
As we headed towards the Roosevelt memorial, we came across these friendly critters. Ok, not so friendly critters but cute to observe. And for the record, duck and goose poop is nasty and slimy. Just sayin'.
Unfortunately, we missed the cherry tree blossoms by a month or so. I think it's cool how the cherry trees grow towards the water. Here's my handsome sweetie-pie.
This is looking back at the Jefferson Memorial.
I like this shot. You can see a silhouette of the Jefferson statue in the middle.
Next up was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. (The following info is Wikipedia.)

"The Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial is a presidential memorial dedicated to the memory of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to the era he represents. For the memorial's designer, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the memorial site represents the capstone of a distinguished career, partly because the landscape architect had fond memories of Roosevelt, and partly because of the sheer difficulty of the task.

"Dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton, the monument, spread over 7.5 acres (3.0 ha), traces 12 years of the history of the United States through a sequence of four outdoor rooms, one for each of FDR's terms of office. Sculptures inspired by photographs depict the 32nd president alongside his dog Fala. Other sculptures depict scenes from the Great Depression, such as listening to a fireside chat on the radio and waiting in a bread line, a bronze sculpture by George Segal. A bronze statue of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt standing before the United Nations emblem honors her dedication to the UN. It is the only presidential memorial to depict a First Lady.

"Considering Roosevelt's disability, the memorial's designers intended to create a memorial that would be accessible to those with various physical impairments. Among other features, the memorial includes an area with tactile reliefs with braille writing for people who are blind. However, the memorial faced serious criticism from disabled activists. Vision-impaired visitors complained that the braille dots were improperly spaced and that some of the braille and reliefs were mounted eight feet off of the ground, placing it above the reach of most people.

"The statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt also stirred controversy over the issue of his disability. Designers decided against plans to have FDR shown in a wheelchair. Instead, the statue depicts the president in a chair with a cloak obscuring the chair, showing him as he appeared to the public during his life. Roosevelt's reliance on a wheelchair was not publicized during his life, as there was a stigma of weakness and instability associated with any disability. However, historians and some disability-rights advocates wanted his disability to be shown for historical accuracy and to tell the story of what they believed to be the source of his strength. Other disability advocates, while not necessarily against showing him in a wheelchair, were wary of protests about the memorial that leaned toward making Roosevelt a hero because of his disability. The sculptor added casters to the back of the chair in deference to advocates, making it a symbolic 'wheelchair.' The casters are only visible behind the statue."

Again, I was a happy girl with my camera. 
I chuckled at how many people were stopping to take photos with the bronze statue of Eleanor Roosevelt. Some of them were striking pretty funny poses. This was as close as we got.
That's it for today. Hope your weekend is off to a great start.

GO BOSTON BRUINS!

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