During my recent, errr…pre-Christmas trip to Washington D.C. I spent quite a bit of time on the National Mall. The National Mall is a national park right in downtown D.C with numerous national monuments to those who fought in wars and American leaders, copious amounts of green space, and loads of pathways. When you arrive at each monument you are drawn into it and forget that all the other monuments are right nearby. The, above, Korean War Memorial was one of my favorites due to the personal characteristics each soldier displays.
At the west end, the National Mall is anchored by the Lincoln Memorial. The imposing President Lincoln is seated in a chair seemingly overlooking the entire National Mall as he views out of the reflecting pool at the Washington Monument. There were hoards of people in this monument, so getting a better picture was difficult without the rogue hand or head in a shot. A fun fact is that on the back of a U.S. penny, you can see the statue of Lincoln inside the memorial itself.
On the opposite end of the Mall is the U.S. Capitol Building with its picturesque dome and majestic presence.
An eerie, emotional memorial is the Vietnam War Memorial. It is constructed at ground level and recedes into the ground with the names of Vietnam soldiers carved into the glossy, black stone. Along the base of the walkway underneath the names are flowers, letters, and pictures placed there by family, friends, strangers, and fellow soldiers who fought right alongside them but made it back home. Many of the letters are left face up and are heartbreaking to read as it truly hits home that these names were dads, husbands, brothers, sons, and friends.
Not to lump them all together, but amongst the monuments and memorials are the recently constructed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which sits just off the main National Mall strip of green against the Tidal Basin looking across at the Jefferson Memorial. On your way to the Jefferson Memorial, you can see the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial that spans the entire length of his presidency and is by far the largest – longest – memorial there. The World War II Memorial is near the middle of the whole Mall and includes a spectacular fountain, if you see it when it’s winter of course.
The American Institute of Architects has a list of America’s Favorite Architecture, which is compromised of the most popular word of architecture in America. 5 of the top 10, including the White House which is best seen from Pennsylvania Ave. and not the Mall itself, are located on the National Mall in Washington D.C. If you’re looking for an excuse to go, maybe that could be one.
Have you been to the National Mall in Washington D.C.? What was your favorite monument and/or memorial?