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Every memorial in any country holds a deep cultural and historical value with emotional importance. It is a place of commemoration to remember the sacrifices of ancestors and pay tribute to their values. Similarly, the Lincoln Memorial was built in memory of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It stands as the symbol of unity and identity of American values in addition to Lincoln’s enduring legacy. In this article, you will explore its significance, and history to showcase its role in the collective memory of the whole nation.
The Man Behind the Monument
Before knowing about this architectural marvel, you should take a quick tour of the past to read about the man behind the monument. Abraham Lincoln is honored for his compelling leadership qualities citizens experienced especially during the American Civil War and in the journey of ending slavery from its roots with the Emancipation Proclamation.
He started his professional journey as a lawyer, became a politician, and remained the President of the United States till his death. His speeches are appreciated all over the world and have been taught in Universities. His extraordinary dedication to the principles of liberty and equality with a vision of a united nation made him a symbol of resilience and hope.
The Vision of a Memorial
The proposal to honor Abraham Lincoln by building the memorial was put forth shortly in 1865 after his assassination. The Lincoln Memorial Commission framed a structure to pay tribute to Lincoln’s legacy as a public place for everyone to gather and celebrate. The design of the memorial is a true masterpiece of architecture of the neoclassic time. It is inspired by Ancient Greek temples that would exude grandeur and timeless beauty and was designed by the architect Henry Bacon. The Parthenon in Athens, Greece is a mirror design of the memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial consists of three primary elements as a part of the structure.
- The Exterior: The exterior of the Lincoln Memorial is a marvel of classic architecture. 36 massive Doric columns surround the structure at the top of the marble stairs indicating the 36 states at the time of the death of Lincoln. Symbolizing strength and unity, these columns adore every visitor. They depict the division of the nation at the time of the American Civil War and are adorned with a continuous bas-relief sculpture.
- The Interior: The interior of the Lincoln Memorial is equally impressive. A colossal is seated at the center of the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and commands attention. The sculptor Daniel Chester French created this 19-foot-tall statue that portrays Lincoln’s deep contemplation and embodies his wisdom and strength. Lincoln’s two famous speeches carved on the walls of the memorial include the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address. These speeches encapsulate his commitment to freedom, equality, and unity.
- The Reflecting Pool: The Reflecting Pool stretches toward the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol to provide a stunning reflection of the Lincoln Memorial. The serene expanse of water creates a tranquil atmosphere for visitors and amplifies the magnificence of the monument.
The Significance of the Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial not only signifies the testament to American values but is also a place of profound cultural and historical importance. Are you curious about why it holds such a special place in the heart of every American and why people visit it all around the world?
- A Beacon of Equality: Serving as a potent emblem of freedom and equality, the Lincoln Memorial implies Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and his unparalleled commitment to relinquish slavery. Moreover, it manifests the hope for those people who are fighting for civil rights and justice in society.
- A Place of Reflection: The serene interior of the memorial encourages contemplation and reflection. The monument is a space where tourists can learn about the history and appreciate the sacrifices made for the sake of the unity of the nation. They will get a deeper understanding of American history and connect themselves with it.
- A Site of Historic Speeches: Today’s date many politicians and social activists deliver important speeches at the memorial. It has become a place of public gatherings and protests. Moreover, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. emancipated his eminent speech “I Have a Dream” during the 1963 March regarding Washington Jobs and the Freedom of every citizen. It has become a place of historic moments and speeches. These events enrich the historic prominence of the memorial linking with the vision of Abraham Lincoln regarding the freedom of the Civil Rights Movement.
- A Center of Unity: The Lincoln Memorial reminds American citizens of common goals and values they share that include unity and freedom. During the time of national crisis, it glorifies the history of America and reaffirms the commitment of every citizen to liberty and democracy. It is a must-visit monument while touring Washington D.C. It will stay in your heart whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone seeking inspiration from the past.
When you are on a trip to visit the Lincoln Memorial, you can experience the breathtaking view of the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol. These places are easily accessible to everyone by public transportation and ample parking facility is available at nearby places. Moreover, you can enter into the memorial free of cost. It is open for everyone 24 hours a day and that’s what makes it an ideal spot to visit day or night. You can read the inscriptions of Lincoln’s speeches pay respects at the feet of the majestic statue and admire the grandeur of the whole architecture.
While exploring the memorial you can explore other landmarks situated at the nearby places. It includes the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, etc. The U.S. Capitol and Smithsonian Museums are located within walking distance of the memorial. Various national events, ceremonies, and performances take place at the Lincoln Memorial throughout the year. To check the timetable of these programs you can visit the website of the National Park Service to get more information and stay updated.
The Iconic Steps
The grand marble steps, also known as the “Honest Steps” at the memorial provide a spectacular vantage point to admire the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool. For tourists, these steps have been the backdrop for countless historic moments, speeches, and gatherings. To get an unforgettable tourist experience you can climb these steps and indulge yourself in the panoramic views of the National Mall. For many tourists, it is the ideal spot to capture the picturesque images that may stay with you forever and cherish this landmark in your heart.
In addition to providing the legacy of American Values, the Lincoln Memorial provides an extraordinary experience to its visitors. To visit it during the evening especially when the memorial is brilliantly illuminated could be one of the most enchanting times. When the sun sets the memorial gets a soft glow against the darkening sky creating a mesmerizing sight for every traveler. The whole scene feels alive and shimmers with the evening night when the glory of the Reflecting Pool is added to it. Visiting the memorial provides a different perspective along with a tranquil and reflective atmosphere.
As a tourist, after visiting the memorial you can take time to read and absorb iconic speeches of Abraham Lincoln. However, they are relevant in today’s time and keep guiding the nation.
You might leave the memorial with a profound sense of inspiration and admiration for the principles of freedom and unity.
There are educational opportunities for tourists visiting the Lincoln Memorial and avail themselves of resources provided to them by guided tours. Park rangers and volunteer guides support thoughtful insights into the history and architectural details of the memorial. These educational services are reshaping the American identity. Engaging with these educational resources can enhance your understanding and appreciation of the memorial, making your visit a rich and informative experience.
As you have read above the Lincoln Memorial structure is made of stone and marble which is a living testament to the core values upon which the United States was framed. If you think from the perspective of tourists, it is a pilgrimage to one of the most revered sites in the history of America which offers you to explore the grandeur of neoclassical architecture.
Moreover, here, you can learn about universal values essential for human rights that include freedom, equality, and unity that contributed to shaping the nation. To experience the illuminating beauty of the memorial you can visit it during the night. It will leave an indelible mark on the legacy of Abraham Lincoln along with the journey the United States had during the difficult times. The memorial offers hope and inspiration for the people around the world. We hope you enjoyed reading our article and received important insights from it.