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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Lincoln Memorial

Being one of the iconic landmarks in Washington DC, the Lincoln Memorial is a US national monument built in honor of the 16th US president, Abraham Lincoln. The memorial is located on the National Mall across from Washington Monument.

Me & hubby with the Lincoln statue at the back.

Its beautiful architectural design was built in the form of a Greek temple, with structures of 7-ft. diameter columns stretching up to 44 ft. high. It has 36 columns representing the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death. 
If you try to look up just above the colonnade, there are inscriptions on the frieze reflecting the 36 names of the states in the Union and the dates in which they joined the Union. Further above on the attic frieze are names inscribed representing the 48 states present at the time of the memorial's dedication.

At the center of the memorial is a 19-ft. marble sculptured seated statue of Abraham Lincoln, and on its walls surrounding it are inscriptions of two famous speeches of Lincoln, - "The Gettysburg Address" and the "Second Inaugural Address." The Lincoln Memorial is also notable as the site of many famous speeches such as that of MLK's (Martin Luther King, Jr.) "I Have A Dream" speech, which was delivered on August 28, 1963 during the rally in Washington for Jobs & Freedom.

This spot was where MLK stood during his "I Have A Dream " speech, and can be found on the landing 18 steps below Lincoln's statue. Engraved in 2003 in recognition of the 40th anniversary of that event.

The seated statue of Abraham Lincoln has an area of 60 ft. wide, 74 ft. long and 60 ft. high. Inside the memorial, there are 3 chambers divided by 2 rows of Ionic columns, - the north and south chambers and lying between them is the central hall where the statue of Lincoln is seated.
On the north chamber lies Lincoln's speech, - "Second Inaugural Address" and on the south lies the wall inscription of his speech "Gettysburg Address."

On August 2012, the reflecting pool, located at the base of the Lincoln Memorial steps was recently renovated. It also provides dramatic images that reflect the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Memorial

After more than 2 decades of planning and construction, this memorial was finally opened to the public on August 22, 2011 which covers 4 acres of space, located on the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin, close to the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial.

It was later dedicated on August 28, 2011, on the 48th anniversary speech of MLK; "I Have a Dream", when he delivered it from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

This is the most recent memorial and the first one to honor a non-president, and the first to honor a man of color in Washington DC area. It's a must-see trip whenever you're on tour in DC.

The memorial's centerpiece is a 30-ft. statue  of MLK Jr. on which on the visible side of the statue is carved "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope," - based from a line on his famous speech "I Have a Dream."
Past the statue on its back stands two pieces of granite boulders that are split-up, - one which symbolizes the "mountain of despair."

Literally, in between the 2 boulders which were split up is a space where people can "pass through" which are called the "mountains of despair going towards on the way to the Stone of Hope.

Right on the entrance of the memorial, you can immediately see the 450-feet long inscription wall where 14 quotes from King's speeches are inscribed. Some of the words reflected on these quotations are also based from the Bible.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The US Capitol Building

Me and my husband with the Capitol bldg. at the background

Every time you are in the DC area, one of the most recognizable historic building you can see is the US Capitol building, which is situated on the opposite end of the National Mall from the Washington Monument. It is considered a prominent landmark that shows a 19th-century neoclassical architecture.
You can also see its view on top of Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall. The US Capitol has a total of 540 rooms, - a very huge building!

The US Capitol building is where the House of Representatives and the Senate meet.
Congressional offices are located on the ground floor, while the 2nd floor is where the House of Representatives hold its chambers in the south wing. The Senate is in the north wing. The 3rd floor is where visitors can actually watch the Congress proceedings while they are in session, while the 4th floor and the basement consist of additional offices and some machine rooms.

At the center of the building is where the dome is and below it  is the Rotunda, a circle-shaped area where you can see a gallery of paintings and sculpture of various American historical figures and events.
Don't miss looking up beneath the top of the dome once you're inside, and you will see the very beautiful masterpiece of painting called "The Apostheosis of Washington", and the famous "Frieze of United States History", - done by Constantino Brumidi in the year 1865.

Also try to notice the 8 large paintings within the Rotunda. Four paintings are on the east side while the other four are located on the west side.

Guided tours inside the building are free, but require tickets that are available on a first come, first served basis. I and my husband were both lucky to join the tour way back in 2006.
Tours are available from Monday-Saturday at 8:45am-3:30pm.

If you are scheduled for a tour, there is now a Capitol Visitor Center which was recently opened in 2008 where you can see galleries and can watch live streaming videos from the House and Senate. There is also a 13-minute film showing that tells about the history of the Congress and the Capitol. The film is being shown in the orientation theaters.

At the former Crypt, the original tomb prepared for George Washington

Also, take some time to visit the Crypt, just below Rotunda. This was actually build to support the Rotunda as well as purposely done to give entrance to Washington's tomb. It is a large round-shaped room built with 40 columns. But since Washington's last will that he be buried at Mt. Vernon, the area became open to visitors and now currently a museum.

There are a lot more things to discover about the US Capitol. Be sure you get a tour inside the building when you get the's worth it!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial

If there is one thing worth visiting in Washington D.C., it would be the FDR Memorial, in honor of the 32nd US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The memorial consists of four outdoor rooms patterned in sequential order, each one which reflects FDR's term of office, the sculptures that are photographed-inspired and those sculptures reflecting the scenes during the Great Depression. The entire property is situated on a 7.5 acres wide lot.

One interesting point to note in the memorial is its' conceptual design of the 4 outdoor rooms and gardens which is animated by sculpture, stone and water.
Waterfalls in the memorial are considered to be an essential aspect as well which act as physical and metaphoric components.

Just a note: the waterfalls are turned off during winter, so if you want to visit, it would be ideal to go either before or after winter time.

FDR Memorial is rich in history, so if you need to update or upgrade your historical knowledge, it is much more challenging to visit it yourself and experience the history enriching adventure! 

I DID! :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The US National WWII Memorial

The WWII Memorial began opening its doors to the public on April 29, 2004 and was dedicated 2 days before Memorial Day on May 29, 2004 by former president George W. Bush. It is an ideal place to visit and pay respects to our WWII veterans. They also call it a place for America's World War II Heroes!

The memorial is dedicated to those Americans who served in the armed forces as well as civilians during the WWII.

The beautiful place is adorned with an oval-shape design, with 2 arches that represent the war's Atlantic and Pacific theaters.
There are 56 pillars which represent the states, territories and District of Columbia during the war. There are two sculpted bronze wreaths that are attached to each pillar and small fountains can be seen at the bases of these 2 arches.

There is a Freedom Wall that is also captivating located on the west side of the memorial. The wall has 4,048 gold stars each representing 100 Americans who died in the war. In front of it reflects a message that says "Here we mark the price of freedom."

The memorial is located on the National Mall of Washington D.C. where you can see the Lincoln Memorial to the west, and the Washington Monument to the east.