February is about a lot of stuff. Right now, it’s sort of heavy on the hearts, roses, pink and red. I love that part. It’s also Black History Month, so hopefully schools, museums, and historical sites around the nation are showcasing exhibits on the Civil Rights Movement and all that came before and after exemplary of the prominent role of African-Americans in our nation. (We’ll be highlighting some on this blog as well).
And February is packed full of something else too, especially for such a little month. We celebrate Presidents Day this month as a combined celebration of the birthdays of President Lincoln and President Washington. So, in deference to this February theme: A list of presidential memorials, how they differ, and what makes them so special. Every one of them should be included in all Washington D.C. educational tours.
Washington Monument – You can’t beat this most prominent structure our nation’s capital which celebrates our most prominent historical figure and president, George Washington. A fearless general in the American Revolution, a man who helped oversee the writing of our Constitution, and our country’s first President, George Washington is someone to celebrate any time, including his birthday month of February. The monument has exhibits to the famous first President in its base and offers an incomparable D.C. view from the top. (Zoning laws ensure no building will be taller than this noted obelisk).
Lincoln Memorial – Perhaps the most familiar of the presidential memorials modeled after Grecian temples, the Lincoln Memorial anchors one end of the tourist-friendly National Mall with miles of fascinating structures (including the Washington Monument above). The oversized statue of Lincoln in a seated, philosophical posture creates the prominent feature of this memorial. But one of the most moving aspects is the beloved President’s words inscribed throughout. President Lincoln spoke some of the most moving words in our nation’s history, even as he led us through one of our most difficult times, and it’s inspiring to visit his memorial and read them again.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial – Speaking of beloved presidents, you can’t get much more so than FDR with his fireside chats that literally sustained national morale in a time of War and of desperation. Franklin D. Roosevelt was at the helm for the Great Depression and for World War II, two gripping, tragic eras in our history. His memorial offers statues of the President in four poses in four different “rooms”, one for each of his terms in office. Fountains and the President’s own words complete the tableau in this refreshing memorial.
President’s Park – Not too far away from the National Mall (which incidentally contains many other must-see monuments and memorials), visitors can now enjoy Presidents Park. It’s located in Williamsburg, an area with a wealth of its own historical landmarks. Presidents Park, though, is relatively new. It’s a lovely park and garden. Its walkway features larger-than-life busts of all the US presidents, including facts, trivia, and their biographies.
All these attractions can be included in one great tour, and they’re all inspiring ways to celebrate our country’s presidents.
Photo by OakleyOriginals on Flickr.