The Lincoln Memorial is one of the favorite places to visit while in Washington D.C. Not only is the memorial beautiful, it is quite large, and gives an ambiance of power and respect once inside. The memorial is located in the National Mall in Washington D.C., and there are a few other memorials to visit in the Mall area, but he Lincoln is the visitor’s favorite, and many return if they visit the area again. The memorial receives 6 million visitors annually, and is open 24 hours a day. Come see the magnificent building that houses the towering Lincoln statue.
The White Columned Building
The first thing you will see is the huge stark-white building and the impressive 36 columns that make up the entrance to all sides. There are 36 columns because there were 36 states in the Union when Lincoln died. They stand over 40 feet in height and are over 7 feet around to give you an idea how large the building really is. The building echoes the same appearance as a Greek temple. If you look closely above the columns the 36 states are inscribed and the dates at which they became part of the union. The stairs trickle down from the main East entrance, providing a dramatic scene. What many people do not know is that about 40 % of the monument is actually underground. The building, statue, and other components were made using marble, which is solid, durable, and yet heavy. The foundation of the white monument building protrudes over 60 feet into the ground, to help support the weight of the massive and heavy memorial site.
The Interior of the Memorial
Beyond the columns, the interior has 3 chambers. The middle chamber contains the famous sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, the United States’ 16th President. He sits on a large, white throne, and his alabaster composition is detailed enough to leave you staring for hours. His arms rest on pillars, as the sculptors injected a touch or Roman influence in the pillars and with the massive columns. The statue alone is 19 feet tall and took 4 years until the sculpting was complete. Lincolns face looks humble and peaceful, as if he is sitting there reflecting upon something. An urban legend about the sculpture’s hands is a favorite among those that visit. Lincoln’s left handed is balled into a fist while his right hand makes and “L” shape. Many believe his hands were sculpted with regards to sign language as the balled fist is really the letter “A” in sign language. Thus, many believe his hands are really spelling out his initials, “A” and “L” in sign language for Abraham Lincoln. The other chambers have carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s inaugural address and also his Gettysburg Address. Eagles and wreaths are also carved in around the interior, decorating the area. Murals displaying the governing principles that Lincoln used in his reign and in his life are depicted. All in all, it is powerful and impressive, and make sure to see it at night, as the lighting provides an unspeakable atmosphere that people say is well worth a night visit.
The Reflection Pool
The Lincoln Memorial Reflection Pool can be seen at the bottom of the stairs at the main east entry. It is a long, rectangular pool about 18 inches deep and over a third of a mile long and over 150 feet wide. It is a large, beautiful pool that adds drama and a sense of calm over the area. The night lighting is spectacular, and it is a peaceful yet powerful place to visit as dusk approaches. Walking paths can be found along the north and south areas of the reflection pool at the Lincoln Memorial. The pool provides the quiet opportunity to walk in a sense of calm, paying respect to the many national events such as Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the memorial or just to the other memorials nearby, and to President Lincoln himself, who was taken before his time and did many great things for this country.
The Statue Unveiled
As the work of the building and statue came to a close after eight years of meticulous building, the site was ready to be unveiled to the public, to chare and let the memory of Lincoln rest with all those who visit. The official dedication took place in 1922, and who but Lincoln’s 78-year-old son, was in attendance to see the site and statue created to immortalize his father. Robert Todd Lincoln had visited during the construction phase, but was there to see it all unveiled in its finished glory.
Lincoln is not the only President who has inhabited the white-pillared memorial. President Richard Nixon visited the Lincoln Memorial at 4 a.m. after the Kent State Shootings to talk to the crowds that were gathered to attend the all-night candlelight vigil for the victims, and who were beginning to organize their protests.
Powerful Monument, Powerful History
Many life altering protests, speeches, vigils, and events have happened at the Lincoln Memorial. His famous speeches are engraved for all to read, as Lincoln did his best to rule a new country and create equality in race. The huge statue housed in the Roman-inspired, white-columned building is glorious, and all who visit recommend a day visit and a night visit, as they say the atmosphere changes and it is remarkable. Come experience the power of a country’s history, as you climb the marble steps to the Lincoln Memorial.