Slideshow: Monuments and Memorials on the National Mall
Pictured: Aerial view of the Washington Monument
The grassy area stretching from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building, flanked by the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is known as the National Mall. The Mall hums with activity every day—large events like festivals and demonstrations, and ordinary ones like tourist photo opportunities. Just west of the Mall lie many Memorial Parks, all commemorating presidents, wars, and other significant people and events in U.S. history.- Photo by Jason Hawkes
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Pictured: Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial, a monument to the nation’s 16th president, recalls a Greek temple with its white columns. Inside, a 19-foot high marble sculpture of the seated Lincoln dominates the space, and some of the president’s best-known quotes are carved into the walls. The memorial’s wide marble steps have seen many historic moments, notably the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.- Photo by Jason Hawkes
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Pictured: Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The stark, sobering Vietnam Veterans Memorial presents the names of over 58,000 U.S. service members who died in the Vietnam War, etched in a V-shaped wall of polished black stone, a site where visitors can literally reflect on the war’s toll, and locate the names of fallen friends and family members. The memorial was dedicated in 1982. Two years later, a statue depicting three servicemen was placed nearby, adding a human dimension to the more abstract wall.- Photo by Michael Kleinberg
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Pictured: Vietnam Women's Memorial
Over 11,000 women served in the Vietnam War, most of them as medical personnel. A statue honoring them—Washington’s first military memorial dedicated to women veterans—was unveiled in 1993. The statue, designed by sculptor Glenna Goodacre, depicts three women, one tending to a wounded soldier.
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Pictured: Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial, dedicated in 1995, honors those who served in the Korean War. 19 larger-than-life statues depicting U.S. servicemen dominate the memorial, backed by a granite wall etched with images from the conflict. The motto “Freedom Is Not Free” reminds visitors of the sacrifices of war.
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Pictured: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial honors the nation’s longest-serving president. A series of outdoor “rooms” depict the turbulent times over which Roosevelt presided, from the Great Depression through World War II. FDR himself is presented sitting next to his pet dog, Fala.- Photo by Destination DC
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Pictured: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is one of Washington’s newest memorials, dedicated in 2011. The 30-foot-high monument recalls the civil rights leader using his own words from his famed 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he spoke of “a mountain of despair” and “a stone of hope.” Visitors pass through a mountainous boulder to find King’s likeness emerging from a central stone. Inspiring King quotations on justice and peace are carved on a nearby Inscription Wall.- Photo by Johnny Bivera
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Pictured: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial at night
Nighttime is a popular time to see Washington’s monuments and memorials. The white stones gleam against the dark sky, and visitors can take advantage of the relative quiet to contemplate lessons of history and leadership.- Photo by Johnny Bivera
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Pictured: Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial honors the founding father whose many contributions to the nation include authoring the Declaration of Independence and serving as the third U.S. President. The memorial’s domed Neoclassical style was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Dedicated in 1943, the memorial contains a statue of Jefferson and excerpts from some of his most famous writings, including the 1776 Declaration of Independence.
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Pictured: Jefferson Memorial in spring
The Jefferson Memorial sits on the edge of the Tidal Basin, which is encircled by Japanese flowering cherry trees. In 1912, the first cherry trees were planted along the Tidal Basin, a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo, Japan to the people of Washington. That gift is celebrated every spring during the National Cherry Blossom festival, which attracts local residents and tourists, both to appreciate the delicate pink and white flowers on the cherry trees, and to enjoy performances and other events that celebrate Japanese culture and the U.S.-Japanese relationship.
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Pictured: National World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial honors all the 16 million Americans who served during the Second World War, and especially the more than 400,000 who lost their lives. The fallen are represented by 4,048 gold stars, each star standing for 100 war dead. Granite columns symbolize the American states, districts and territories behind the united military effort, and bas-relief images and the carved names of battles depict key moments in the long war.
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Pictured: Washington Monument in Spring
555 feet high, the Washington Monument is one of the capital’s most recognizable landmarks. The obelisk honors the nation’s first president. There is a distinct difference in color between the bottom third and upper two-thirds of the monument; this is because a shortage of funds halted its construction in 1854, and when the project resumed 25 years later, builders used marble from a different quarry. An observation deck offers unparalleled views of the city, but due to damage sustained in a 2011 earthquake (a very rare occurrence in Washington), the monument is closed to the public until further notice.- Photo by Destination DC