Psychology of Memorialization
Famous People Memorialized
Small Town Memorials
The Last Wish
Memorializing a Veteran
Famous Memorial Buildings
How to Cope with the Death of a Pet
Famous People Memorialized
Interesting Memorial Facts
Americans have a long tradition of memorializing their most famous leaders and war heroes with elaborate, awe-inspiring structures designed to last the ages in Washington D.C. The national capital is sprinkled with, probably, hundreds of statues and other memorials to men and women who left their undying marks on the country’s history.
Standing tall among these memorials are five of the most beautiful structures (works of art, really) in the world that memorialize some of the most important historical figures ever to call America home. Below is a list of these memorials and some interesting facts about each one.
The Washington Monument is built in honor of the very first American president, George Washington, and is the tallest structure in Washington D.C. In fact, the city government of Washington D.C. has long-since approved a law making it illegal to build a taller structure in the city. Therefore, for generations to come, the Washington Monument will be clearly visible from just about anywhere in the city.
The Lincoln Monument serves, in a sense, as a memorial for two great Americans. Not only does the elaborate monument immortalize 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, but it also keeps the memory of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King’s greatest moment alive for the ages. King delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Monument, and the place where he stood is permanently adorned with a marble pedestal that is inscribed with the most famous line of that monumental speech and a short sentence that captures the significance of that event. King chose the monument for his speech because Lincoln is the U.S. president who signed orders freeing all slaves in the United States.
The Jefferson Memorial was ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 because Roosevelt believed that Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, was the most influential in history. Given that Roosevelt himself is, today, widely considered the most influential 20th century U.S. president – and he certainly was the longest serving – the Jefferson Memorial can arguably be considered one of the most important of all of Washington’s memorials.
Perhaps the most elaborate presidential memorial is the one created in honor of Roosevelt himself. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial structure has four outdoor rooms, each accented by meaningful quotes made by the late president, and waterfalls that become progressively more complex as a visitor makes his way through the area. The four areas are intended to represent the complex mix of struggles and victories that characterized Roosevelt’s record 12 years in office. The memorial was established in 1997 and a statue of Roosevelt sitting in his famous wheel chair was added in 2001, making it the newest of all of Washington’s large presidential memorials.
Perhaps the most technologically sophisticated memorial is the John F. Kennedy Memorial Flame at Arlington National Cemetery. This memorial is a small flame that burns continuously as an ever-lasting symbol that Kennedy’s memory and spirit remains forever with all Americans. The eternal flame was lit by Kennedy’s wife Jacquelyn during Kennedy’s 1963 memorial service and is constantly kept alive by an ever-flowing stream of natural gas piped from an underground source. Even snow and rain cannot drown the flame: a device inside the memorial creates sparks constantly and, thus, bring the flame to life if it is ever distinguished briefly.
These are just some of the monument works created to not only honor the lives of important figures in history, but also to inform future generations of the struggles that our nation faced to become the land of freedom that it is today. These works will forever capture the hardships of the individuals they memorialize, and the era that suffered along with those people. In that way, they inspire the many who visit and study them to help create a world of peace and equality for all.