Things to Do in DC: The National Mall
The National Mall in Washington, DC has been a symbol of the United States, as well as symbolizing our country's democratic values for over 200 years. Reaching from the United States Capitol building all the way to the Potomac River, the National Mall is a huge expanse of green in the center of the nation's capital city. It is a symbolic and premiere civic space in the United States. Millions of visitor come to the National Mall to remember legacies of presidents, honor the country's veterans, and to observe America's commitment to equality and freedom. Photo: Andrea Izzotti/Fotolia
Visitors to the Washington Monument can get a "bird's eye" view of the capital of the United States from the monument's 500' level observation deck. Park rangers guide guests to the elevator upon entrance to the monument. They also provide visitors with commentary on their express elevator ride to the top floor of the Washington Monument. The 500 foot assent only takes a little over a minute. Once at the top, visitors are allowed to explore the observation deck at their own pace. Located downstairs is the 490' level museum that has exhibits on display, and it is also the level where guests board the elevator to reach the bottom floor of the Washington Monument. The descent takes around 2 minutes, and a park ranger will provide commentary on the way down as the elevator slows at specific spots of the monument in order for visitors to see select sections of the Washington Monument's interior.
The National Mall and Memorial Parks, established in 1965, protects some of the oldest parkland within the National Parks System. The Constitution Gardens were dedicated as a tribute to the American Revolution Bicentennial in 1976. In 1986, Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Gardens a living legacy tribute to the Constitution as part of the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution. The Constitution Gardens now serve as both a living legacy to the founding of the United States and a pleasant oasis in the middle of the city.
The thought that a memorial to Lincoln should join the Washington Monument on the National Mall was obviously appropriate. George Washington founded the Union, and it was Abraham Lincoln the preserved the Union. The spectacular symmetry in design and thought is represented in the Lincoln Memorial's location. The Capitol Building is situated directly in line with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Washington was the nation's president at the start of construction on the Capitol Building, while Lincoln was the president when the Capitol Building was completed. The contemporaries of Abraham Lincoln didn't need any historical perspective to realize his immense impact on the country. In addition to saving the Union, Lincoln preserved its boundaries and government, and also revitalized the principle that all men are created equal.
»World War II Memorial
The service of 16 million Armed Forces members, the ultimate sacrifice of 405,399 Americans, and the support of the home front's untold millions are honored at the National Mall's World War II Memorial. Flanking the ceremonial entrance are 24 bronze bas-relief panels, each telling the story of the United States' involvement with World War II. Each state and territory of America, at the time of the war, is represented by a granite column. The columns form a ring around a monumental pond with burst of water shooting high up into the air. A wall of 4,048 gold stars serves as a reminder that over 400,000 Americans lost their lives to help win victory in the war. The memorial also contains references to theaters, battles, and campaigns, quotes, and two enormous victory pavilions that tell the story of the endeavors Americans undertook to gain victory in the war. The World War II Memorial was dedicated in 2004 on May 29th in a 4-day "grand reunion" of veterans of the war. The memorial stands as a tribute to the legacy of "The Greatest Generation."
In addition to the many features already mentioned, the memorial displays a bas-relief panel showing an image of people chafing wheat on a farm. Some men living on farms were exempted from serving in the military due to wheat being such an important crop. As such, very few of these men were drafted during World War II. Families who did have someone leave the farm to serve in the military made a significant sacrifice having lost an able-bodied farmhand. This is represented on the panel by the uniformed soldier on the left.
Located on the Pacific side of the memorial is part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech on December 8th's after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The reaction to the Pearl Harbor attack was captured by his words. There is also a bas-relief image of a family learning about the event gathered around the radio, symbolizing the unforgettable moment for the generation of World War II.
Photo: Sophie James/Fotolia
»Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is located on a direct line with the White House. Dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943, the memorial honors Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. He also impacted in many ways the very construct of the country itself, and was the nation's first Secretary of State. John Russell Pope, the architect of the memorial, was inspired by Jefferson's style of classical architecture and reflected the style found at Monticello and the Rotunda of the University of Virginia.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is found near the corner of Constitution Avenue NW and 22nd Street, just north of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial's main feature is the wall of more than 58,000 names of the men and women who lost their lives while in service during the Vietnam Conflict. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial also contains The Vietnam Women's Memorial, as well as the statue of "The Three Servicemen." Visitors can also locate a specific name using one of the catalogs found near the entrances to the memorial.
»Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Franklin Delano Roosevelt continues to be personally associated with the National Park Service. He stated "there is nothing so American" in a 1936 speech, speaking on the special quality of national parks. Roosevelt captured the fundamental principle of the National Park Service when he announced that "the fundamental idea behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us." Franklin Delano Roosevelt is also well-known for his statement "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial stands a remembrance of this noteworthy president.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The struggle for equality, justice, and freedom and the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Are recognized and honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The memorial is comprised of a sculpture of King, as well as quotes from throughout the civil rights leader's lifetime. From the memorial, visitors can get a good view of the Tidal Basin and cherry trees.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1995. The memorial consists of the Wall of Remembrance and 19 statues made of stainless steel, honoring the lost lives of millions of American and allied soldiers who served in the Korean War.
DC War (World War I) Memorial
The DC War Memorial, completed in 1931, honors the men and women from the District of Columbia who lost their lives in World War I. The names of 499 men and women are inscribed in alphabetical order on a circular, four feet high platform made of marble. The architect of the memorial, Frederick H. Broeke, along with his associates, Horace W. Peaslee and Nathan C. Wyeth, were all veterans of World War I. The memorial is an open-air, circular, Doric structure that was built nearly completely with Vermont marble. The structure stands at 47 feet and is sizable enough to fit the United States Marine band in its entirety. The DC War Memorial's purpose when built was to be not only a memorial, but also a bandstand. It was intended that every concert performed at the memorial would be a tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed during World War I. Being the National Mall's only District memorial, it symbolizes Washington, D.C.'s unique distinction as a federal city and local entity.
The DC War Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1931 by Herbert Hoover on the national observance of Armistice Day. In 2010, the American Recover and Restoration Act provided $3.6 million to restore the memorial to its original bright white color. The restoration also gave the memorial new lighting and pathways, and created a more functional layout for the landscape. Now visitors can enjoy a more accessible, safer, and beautiful memorial.
Back to: Best Romantic Things to Do in Washington, D.C.
Contact: 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024, Phone: 202-426-6841
Things to Do in DC: The National Mall
More: What's Near Me, What to See Tomorrow & Tonight, Visiting Hotels, Resorts for couples, Must See Attractions, Tourism, School, Inns, Festival Hours, 10 Best Family Attractions on a Budget, Unique Sightseeing, Fun Things to Do Near Me at Night, Free Dating Activities, Museums, Best of & Famous Tourist Sights, Where to Go & Best Romantic Places to Visit Now
More: Disney, Nickelodeon cruise, First day of Fall, Snapchat filters, Shutterfly photo albums, Aspen restaurants, Sydney Restaurants, Castles in Scotland, Things to Do in Glasgow, Glasgow weather, Scotland destinations, CO Tiny Houses, Things to Do in Amsterdam, Things to Do in Mumbai, Things to Do in Romania, NY in the Fall, Cruise Vacation Packing List, How Much to Tip at a Spa