{USA} A Memorial Fit For A President

April 24, 2013

USA

I’ve been visiting Washington, D.C. for over ten years. If I’ve counted correctly, our recent holiday was my seventh visit. Previous visits included two long summers as an intern, so accumulatively I think I’ve spent almost a year of my life in that city. And yet, up until the last day of our last holiday, I did not know that there was an exhibition in the base of the Lincoln Memorial! I think I can be forgiven though, since neither the website for the Memorial, the National Park Service nor its Wikipedia entry mention the exhibition, except for a glimpse of it in the online virtual tour.

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It’s not a particularly big exhibition, but it does give you further insight in to the Memorial – the planning behind it, its architectural features and the significant moments in American history that played out on its steps, such as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech – as well as into Abraham Lincoln himself and why he is considered one of the greatest US presidents of all time.

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Then, of course, there is the actual Memorial itself, annually visited by around 6 million people. The 19 foot high white marble statue of Abraham Lincoln, mounted on a 10 foot high pedestal and weighing almost 160 tons, takes centre stage inside the Greek Doric style temple. The walls to the left and right of the statue are engraved with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address, two of his most well-known speeches.

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From the top of the Memorial you also have a great view across the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument and the National Mall beyond. Hard to believe that this was once a swamp!

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