I only saw four monuments last week in Washington, DC. Nowhere near the number I wanted to see, but as many past DC visitors will tell you, there's no way you can see it all!
The four monuments and memorials I saw were worth every second of viewing and reflection. I took a friend's advice and viewed them at night- good idea. The National Mall is very safe. Even at night, security and fellow tourists are everywhere. Below are the monuments I saw and a few thoughts and observations.
- The Washington Monument- Probably one of the tallest buildings in DC, I could see it from my hotel room across the Potomac in Arlington, VA. It is all the way vertical and stands tall and brave, just like George Washington himself defending the freedom and ideals of America. The 50 US flags around it signify celebration and resolution at the very base of the structure. You can rub your hand on it and feel the firmness of its marble and granite composition.
- The World War II Memorial- I have never seen a more moving tribute to our WWII Veterans and war effort than this. There is water shooting up and down towards a center fountain that runs nonstop. All 50 States and US Territories have a short section dedicated to them. The concrete walls aligning the memorial are engraved with quotes from notable WWII leaders such as Presidents Truman and Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. The walls also include carvings depicting the mobilization of women who formed the backbone of our economy while the men were away fighting.
- The Lincoln Memorial- It is no wonder why this monument is a must-see if you are in DC. Its very presence is commanding. The President who saved the Union is rightfully portrayed as focused, intentional, and courageous. The scale and attention to detail is striking. Interestingly, there is a bookstore and an information center inside the monument.
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial- Last, but definitely not least. This one moved me the most. In fact, I almost cried when I first saw it. I stood silently for about five minutes in meditation and amazement. His life was bigger than his own. To have him memorialized in the National Mall means more than I could possibly summarize here, but among the most meaningful reasons- he is the only non-US President with his own memorial in the National Mall.
As I stated earlier, I wish I could have gone around to see more of the monuments like the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Roosevelt Memorial. But, seeing what I saw alone is awe-inspiring and ignites courage, strength, and gratitude for the people who have sacrificed so much to help America be the wonderful (not perfect) nation that it is today.