Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top 10 Monumental Things About the Lincoln Memorial

1.  The Lincoln Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon. Bacon was born in Illinois. The ground breaking began in 1915 the dedication was in 1922 by President Harding. Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln was in attendance. Robert Russa Moton, an African American educator and author was one of the speakers at the dedication.  The monument sits directly opposite the Washington Monument in the National Mall.  Behind it is the bridge to Arlington National Cemetery.

2. The building is made from materials from the northern and southern states of the United States. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. It ranked 7th on the 2007 AIA list of the 150 highest-ranked structures as "America's Favorite Architecture". Check out the list. How many have you been privileged to see in person?  How many have you nonchalantly taken for granted as you have driven or walked by?

3. The exterior of the building is made of Colorado Yule marble.  The columns that surround the buildings represent the 36 states that were in the union at the time of Lincoln's death in the order that they entered the Union. Delaware being the first state would be the first column on the left looking directly at the memorial facing it with your back to the Washington Monument. Pennsylvania is next.

4. The ceiling is made from Alabama marble saturated with melted beeswax for translucency. (description at nps.gov)

5. The speech engraved on the south chamber wall is the Gettysburg Address given by Lincoln on April 19, 1863 in Gettysburg at the dedication of Soldiers' National Cemetery.

6.  "Emancipation”, the mural above the Gettysburg Address on the south chamber wall, represents Freedom and Liberty. The central panel shows the Angel of Truth releasing slaves from the shackles of bondage. The left panel of the mural represents Justice and Law. The right panel represents Immortality. Surrounding the central figure are Faith, Hope, and Charity. (description at nps.gov)

7.  “Unity”, above the Second Inaugural Address on the north wall features the Angel of Truth joining the hands of two figures representing the North and South. Her protective wings cradle the arts of Painting, Philosophy, Music, Architecture, Chemistry, Literature, and Sculpture. Emerging from behind the music figure is a veiled image of the Future. The left group represents Fraternity while the right group represents Charity. On the Unity mural, the fourth figure from the left of the Angel of Truth is the head of Lincoln Memorial architect Henry Bacon. (description at nps.gov)

8. The Second Inauguration speech given March 4th, 1865 by Lincoln barely one month before the end of the civil war. Lincoln spoke of compassion towards out southern brothers and sisters. Lee surrendered of April 9th and President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865.

9. The hands on the Lincoln statue represent compassion the open hand and his fist means decisiveness. There is also an urban legend that the hands are formed in sign language left in an "A"and right  "L" for Abraham Lincoln. The chair Lincoln is sitting on is Roman it is draped with the American flag. Abraham Lincoln was sculpted by Daniel Chester French (1850–1931) and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers. Here is the nps.gov link to all the artists that were involved including a woman.

10. Marian Anderson, opera singer performed at the Lincoln Memorial for a 1939 Easter Sunday concert, after the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her the opportunity to perform at nearby Constitution Hall because of her race. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous I Have A Dream speech. Look for the marker on the steps as you face the Washington Monument, an impressive vista to look out over.

and that boy and girls
 is why you take the offer of a "free" tour by a National Park Service employee, they are both knowledgeable and take pride in their job and the precious and noble parts of our country. There are also educational materials at the Library of Congress (loc.gov) National Archives and the nps.gov websites. If you read about these special symbols before you go, you will know what to look for. The Lincoln Memorial is a very special place to honor a very special president and today we honor him.

Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln.

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