Abraham Lincoln is popularly recognized as one of the few presidents who challenged and found remedies to some of the greatest internal conflicts faced by any country. His pro-Union policy amidst the American Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, and support for the Homestead Act are just a few indications of the convictions and belief Abraham Lincoln personified. The Lincoln Memorial is a humble salute to the power of intent he symbolized in American History.
Lincoln Memorial Structure
Lincoln Memorial is located at National Mall, Washington, D.C. The architecture replicates a Doric temple. It features a seated sculpture of the President, which is 19 feet tall. Two of Lincoln's best-known speeches are inscribed within. Lincoln Memorial has been immortalized by great men and speeches, made at the site. These include 'I Have a Dream' by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963.
Facts About the Memorial
- Lincoln Monument Association chose the site, which was then swampland, in 1902. On 12 February, 1911, the first stone was put into place to commemorate Lincoln's birthday. A combination of Indiana limestone and Yule and Georgian marble make the memorial truly unique.
- The dedication ceremony was headed by former President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln, Lincoln's only surviving child, on May 30, 1922.
- The chief architect Henry Bacon was awarded a Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects, for its design, in 1923. The statue of Abraham Lincoln was sculpted by Daniel Chester French in 1920.
- The memorial stands 99 feet tall with 36 enormous columns. Each of these measure 37 feet in height. The columns represent the 25 U.S. states and the 11 seceded States, after the death of Abraham Lincoln. The names of all the states of the US are inscribed in entablatures, above each column.
- Lincoln's expression is depicted as pensive. The sculpture gazes eastwards, towards the Reflecting Pool. He holds the Roman fasces, symbolizing the power of the Republic.
- Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Second inaugural address are enshrined in the south and north walls. There is an angel inscribed into the north wall, to represent truth, and on the south wall, the inscription is that of a slave being freed.
Site for Famous Speeches and Events
Along with its distinct features and accessibility to the public, the Lincoln Memorial has become a well-known site for hosting important social and culturally significant events, some of which are mentioned below.
- Performance by African-American contralto Marian Anderson on the behest of Eleanor Roosevelt, to a live and radio audience, in 1939.
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Rally, headed by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963, which resulted in the 'I Have a Dream' speech.
- Impromptu meeting with protesters against the Vietnam War headed by President Richard Nixon, in 1970.
- 20th Anniversary Mobilization for Jobs, Peace and Freedom, for African-American civil rights, in 1983.
- Inauguration celebration to honor President George W. Bush, in 2001.
The Lincoln Memorial stands amidst the National World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Korean War Veterans Memorial, and is taken care of by the National Park Service. It is accessible to the public 24x7. Since 1959, the Lincoln Memorial features on the flip side of the one cent coin, with his portrait on the front. The monument is also featured on the back of the five dollar bill. More than 6 million visitors make the trip to greet Abraham Lincoln each year, making it one of the most popular attractions in Washington, DC. If you ever have a chance to visit the Lincoln Memorial after dark, it is truly breathtaking and highly recommended. Enjoy this experience without dealing with crowds of people and don't forget to bring your camera!