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Several Washington, DC monuments honor special people

My high school class gathered for a reunion on Saturday, September 7 and I was reminded of our class trip to Washington D.C. in our senior year. It was the last time I have been in that famous city. I have always wanted to go back again and take in some of the sights but my needs took priority over my wants. What prompted my memory about the trip to Washington is that the last publication of the Johnson County Historical Society titled Pictorial History of Johnson County contains a picture of the class standing with the U. S. Capitol in the background. Incidentally, the book can be purchased at the Welcome Center on South Shady Street in Mountain City or you may send your check for $22.00 to Johnson County Welcome Center, 716 S. Shady Street, Mountain City, Tennessee 37683. Checks should be made to The Johnson County Historical Society. The book will be shipped promptly by mail.
As I thought of the Washington trip, I thought also of the various sights of D. C. and especially the monuments that honor special people. Three came to mind: the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. I thought I would get some facts about them to pass along to the readers of this column. I gleaned a good bit of information from the National Park Service Web Page. I was amazed at some of that∂∂∂∂ information.
I was privileged not only to view that monument on our Washington Trip but I climbed every step to the top. An elevator is also available.
There were several attempts to honor Washington before the final plans were utilized. The monument was built between 1848 and 1884 as a tribute to his military leadership from 1775 – 1783 during the American Revolution. After a great deal of changes in design and a number of attempts to get started on the project, the cornerstone was laid in 1848. Funds were difficult to raise and the Civil War made raising funds even more difficult. Lt. Col. Thomas L. Casey resumed work on the monument, he changed it from what it had been originally planned out. The finished project is what can be seen in Washington D. C. today. It was dedicated on February 21, 1885 and opened to the public on October 9, 1888. The monument weighs 81,120 tons, is 555’ 5-1/8” tall. A restoration was completed in 2000. More recently, it is closed for repairs due to an earthquake on August 23, 2011.
I was very impressed by the Lincoln Memorial which stands at the west end of the National Mall as a neoclassical monument to the 16th president. Henry Bacon designed it. It stands 190 feet long, 119 feet wide, and almost 100 feet high. The north and south chambers contain carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address. The statue was carved in four years by the Piccirilli brothers under the supervision of the sculptor, Daniel Chester French. The statue of Lincoln is 19 feet high and weighs 175 tons.
The Jefferson Memorial is a very esthetic site. It is modeled after the Pantheon of Rome and is America’s foremost memorial to our third president. Architect John Russell Pope used Jefferson’s own architectural tastes in the design of the Memorial. After Pope’s death in 1937, Architects Daniel P. Higgins and Otto R. Eggers took over construction. The site selected in the Tidal Basin caused no small amount of controversy because it displaced Japanese flowering cherry trees from the basin. President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Memorial on November 15, 1939. Rudolph Evans carved the statue itself. Those three monuments plus many more memorials and monuments are musts for me to see if I ever get back to D. C.