Must-See Monuments and Memorials in Washington, D.C.
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The Lincoln Memorial
The regal Lincoln Memorial pays tributes to America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who presided over a divided nation during the Civil War (1861-1865) and issued the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) to end the institution of slavery.
Dedicated in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial features a seated, larger-than-life President Lincoln surrounded by 36 44-foot high columns. The columns represent the 36 states that were in the Union at the time of the President Lincoln's assassination in 1865.
Parking is extremely limited, but the Lincoln Monument is Metro-accessible (Foggy Bottom station on the Blue and Orange line.) The Memorial is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
The Jefferson Memorial
The rotunda-shaped Jefferson Memorial pays tribute to America's 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson. Also an architect, Jefferson designed Monticello and the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, both of which reflect the architectural style of the Roman Pantheon. The Jefferson Memorial was intentionally designed in a similar style to honor the man's affinity for neo-classical architecture.
Situated in the capital city's Tidal Basin, surrounded by a grove of cherry blossom trees, the memorial features a 19-foot bronze state of the president. Inscribed around the statue are a number of passages from the Declaration of Independence, which was written by Thomas Jefferson.
The memorial is open year-round from 8 a.m. to midnight. The Jefferson Memorial is Metro-accessible (Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines.) Admission is free.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Memorial honors the memories of the 58,209 American soldiers killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. The memorial is comprised of two perpendicular black granite walls, which are inscribed in chronological order with the name of each soldier, according to the date of his or her casualty.
Completed in 1982, the haunting memorial reflects the faces of its visitors within the seemingly endless list of war dead. The memorial's designer intended this reflection as commentary on the ongoing legacy of the Vietnam conflict on the American consciousness.
Each year, more than 3 million visitors pass by the memorial wall, often making rubbings of the names of soldiers they loved and lost. An alphabetical list of the inscribed names is available at the kiosk on the memorial grounds.
The Vietnam Memorial is Metro-accessible (Foggy Bottom station on the Blue and Orange line) and open year-round. The memorial is staffed from 8:00 a.m. to midnight, although visitors are welcome to visit 24 hours a day. Admission is free.
The Korean War Memorial
Dedicated in July 1995, on the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war, the Korean War Memorial is one of the most recent additions to the city's memorials. The modern design features an enormous circle interested by a triangle, in the middle of which are 19 steel statues of larger-than-life figures from the Korean War.
Within the large circle is the shallow watered Pool of Remembrance, which includes inscriptions for the 54,246 soldiers killed and the 103,284 soldiers wounded. The path leading up to the Memorial is lined by a 164-foot-long black granite wall with a collage of sandblasted images of soldiers who served and died in the war.
The memorial is Metro-accessible (Foggy Bottom station on the Blue and Orange line). It is open year-round, 24 hours a day. Admission is free.
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