- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit the Lincoln's Memorial
While it is only one of several monuments built to honor an American president, many regard the Lincoln Memorial as the very finest one. Partly because of the beauty of the monument, but also because of the man it is built to honor.
The Lincoln Memorial is made out of Indiana limestone and Yule marble, which gives the memorial its shining white color. The building is heavily inspired by the ancient Greek Temple of Zeus. This is not only evident because it is surrounded by massive columns, but also because it is centered around a large statue of a man sitting on a throne. In the Temple of Zeus it was Zeus sitting on the throne; in this case it’s Abraham Lincoln.
The state columns
The 36 columns are interpreted as representing the 25 U.S. states at the time of Lincoln's death, as well as the 11 Confederate states. By taking a look above the columns, visitors to Lincoln Memorial will the see name of the states inscribed in the order that each state joined the Union along with the year of their joining in Roman numerals.
The names of the remaining 22 states that had joined the Union when the memorial was completed are carved on the exterior attic walls in the same manner, even though it can be hard to see from the ground. A plaque in front of the monument also honors the admission of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.
The Lincoln Statue
While the outside itself is very beautiful, the focus of the memorial is Daniel Chester French's sculpture of Lincoln, seated on a throne, stoically looking east over the reflecting pool towards the Washington Monument.
The statue was carved from 28 blocks f white Georgia marble and stands six meters high and six meters wide. Behind the statue on the wall, visitors can read an inscription saying:
IN THIS TEMPLE AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS ENSHRINED FOREVER
One can also find some of Lincoln’s speeches inscribed on the walls inside the memorial. On the south side visitors can find his famous speech at Gettysburg and on the other side his second inaugural speech.
Another famous speech..
This site itself has also been the place for several famous speeches. The most famous one came in 1963, during one of the greatest political rallies in US history; the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which gathered more than 250.000 people in the area surrounding the memorial.
They came to hear Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his memorable speech, "I Have a Dream" before the memorial honoring the president who had issued the Emancipation Proclamation 100 years earlier. Visitors taking a closer look at the steps just in front of the building will see an inscription in the ground, marking where King stood when he held his speech.
A popular site
The Lincoln memorial is today a very popular place for visitors, not only typical tourists, but also many schools take field trips to the memorial in educational purpose. In total, an estimate of more than 3.5 million people visits the site each year.