Historic Walks: Washington – Fight For Freedom

The USA’s capital teems with iconic monuments, vast museums, and the sense that many struggles of power and freedom have been fought in its buildings and streets.

Historic Walks: Washington - Fight For Freedom
  1. Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington County, Virginia)

Established in 1864 during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, the Arlington National Cemetery . It has over 300,000 interments ranging from the American Civil War through to the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is home to the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame, the Tomb of the Unknowns from World Wars I & II, and the Korean War, and numerous other distinguished military and public figures. It has the second-largest number of burials of any national cemetery in the United States (after Calverton National Cemetery in Long Island, New York) and conducts approximately 6,900 burials each year. Open 8am – 7pm (April – September) and 8am – 5pm (October – March).

  1. Lincoln Memorial (National Mall, West Potomac Park)

washington-dc-map_500pxConstructed between 1914 and 1922 and based on the form of a Greek Doric temple, the Lincoln Memorial was built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln who led the country through the American Civil War, and is widely credited with preserving the Union, while ending slavery and promoting economic stability. The statue of Lincoln was originally designed to be 10 feet tall, but was later enlarged to 19 feet to prevent it from being dwarfed by its huge chamber. It was also the site of the famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. It is open to the public 24 hours a day.

  1. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall)

Built to honor service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought, died, or were unaccounted for in the Vietnam War. The Memorial Wall is made up of two gabbro walls 246 feet and 9 inches long and features the names of over 58,000 veterans. In addition to the wall the memorial also features a bronze statue The Three Soldiers depicting three service men in action. The memorial is open 24 hours a day.

  1. Washington Monument (National Mall)

Built to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington, The Washington Monument is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk standing at just over 555 feet. It is made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss. Beginning construction in 1884, it was not completed until 34 years later in 1884 due to a hiatus caused in part by a lack of funds and the American Civil War. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest building until it was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower in 1889. Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 10 pm (Summer) 9 a.m. – 5 pm (Rest of year).

  1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (National Mall)

vietnam_memorial_washington_dc-7Dedicated to the memory of the 32nd President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt and the era he represented, this memorial depicts many scenes from his time such as a statue of the president alongside his dog Fala, a Great Depression breadline, quotations from his speeches, a depiction of his funeral cortège, and water features representing the various events which marked his time as president. The design is based on a concept of four “rooms” with each room containing a different water feature, each becoming larger and more complex, representing the turbulent times of the Great Depression and World War. The memorial is open 24 hours a day.

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (1964 Independence Ave, West Potomac Park)

Dedicated to activist, clergyman, and prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial opened to the public in August 2011. The centrepiece of the memorial is a A 30 feet high relief of King named the “Stone of Hope” based on a line from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope” The statue stands past two other pieces of granite that symbolize the “mountain of despair. Visitors “literally “pass through” the Mountain of Despair on the way to the Stone of Hope, as a symbolic reference to the struggle Dr. King endured during his life.

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