On a vacation and wondering what to see in Washington, D.C.? Take a look at the grand Lincoln Memorial.
You've seen it in numerous films and television shows. It's a great place to meet up and it's a prominent feature on the Washington Mall. Yes, we're talking about the grand Lincoln Memorial.
Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky and later moved to Illinois. While Abraham received less than one year of formal education he did his best to read and educate himself and was encouraged by his stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln. In 1834 he entered politics and in 1836 he was licensed to practice law. The central issue Lincoln as a politician stood firmly on was the issue of slavery. He believed that slavery in a true democracy was impossible.
In 1861, the same year that Lincoln was sworn in as President of the United States of America, the South opened fire on Fort Sumter and the civil war began. Lincoln made sure to clarify his stated intention for fighting the war was not to abolish slavery but when his understanding of black people grew, his position changed. On January 1, 1863, as the country entered the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. It declared that “all persons held as slaves … shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” This applied only to the rebel states but it completely changed the course of the Civil War for the North.
The man who saved America
On the evening of April 11, 1865, two days after the Civil War ended, Lincoln delivered a speech indicating his desire to give blacks the right to vote. The speech inspired such bitterness in John Wilkes Booth, a white supremacist, that he sought out the president at the Ford Theater three days later and assassinated him. On December 18, 1865 Secretary of State William H. Steward proclaimed the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. The amendment had received President Lincoln's approval earlier that year. While George Washington lives in the hearts of Americans as the father of the nation, Abraham Lincoln stands firmly by many as the savior. The founding fathers of the United States created a constitution that promised freedom for all men.
The spirit of Abraham Lincoln still looms large in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is a tribute to a man whose memory will not fade as long as the preciousness of freedom and the inherent value of every human being that Lincoln honored with his life, remains. Today, the Lincoln Memorial is by far the most visited of all monuments in the nation's capital with over 6 million guests per year. The Lincoln Memorial has long served as a platform where American people voice their concerns and grievances. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his most memorable and riveting “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the memorial beginning his speech by giving honor to Abraham Lincoln. This speech—one of history's most famous—earned the civil rights leader a plaque on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and a fine memorial of his own.
The Lincoln Memorial is located on the western end of the National Mall across from the Washington Monument. Henry Bacon, the architect, designed the monument to appear like a Greek temple with 36 Doric columns outside to represent the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. Daniel Chester French, the most prominent sculptor of the time. Inscribed on the wall directly behind the statue are these words by American art historian and art critic of the New York Tribune: “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved this union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”created the 19 foot tall statue that dominates the interior chamber. The construction took place between 1914 and 1922. To symbolize the preservation of the Union achieved during Lincoln's presidency and how something beautiful arose from such a bitter struggle, Henry Bacon used five types of stone from separate states to construct the memorial and the statue of Lincoln.
Good to know:
The public may visit the Lincoln Memorial 24 hours a day. However rangers are on duty to answer questions from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. daily and to provide interpretive programs every hour on the hour from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 P.M.
Have a monumental holiday in Washington, D.C. WOW air offers cheap flights to the U.S. capital and Baltimore from London and Dublin all year round.
by Paul Michael Herman