The nation’s capital is a place every American should visit at some point in their lives, so why not plan your trip to coincide with Independence Day. The city is draped with the Stars and Stripes every July 4th and you can take advantage of the numerous special events and concerts that occur over the long weekend.
The National Mall, book ended by the Washington Monument at one end and the Lincoln Memorial at the other, holds half of the best dozen architectural wonders in the country. It’s an open-air walk through the nation’s history, and the sheer grandeur of Washington’s monuments is breathtaking. Here are just a few of the must-see places you need to visit in “America’s Front Yard”.
Dominating the west end of the National Mall, a 19-foot statue of Abraham Lincoln sits looking out over the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument. The thirty-six columns represent each state that was in existence when Lincoln was assassinated. The Gettysburg address is carved into the wall, along with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
Korean War Veteran’s Memorial
Nineteen incredibly lifelike statues represent a squad on patrol, walking along a wall that symbolizes the division between North and South Korea. You can also look over the 2,400 photos of the men and women who served in the conflict.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
It’s impossible not to be profoundly moved by this stark memorial to those who fought in the Vietnam War. The Three Soldiers look towards the Memorial Wall where 58,000 names are engraved on the reflective surface. Nearby, three women nurse a wounded soldier in commemoration of the 265,000 women who served.
Martin Luther King JR. Memorial
Close to where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, you’ll find this 30-foot granite statue rising as the “Stone of Hope” from the “Mountain of Despair”. It was the first Washington Monument to honor a black leader.
World War II Memorial
400,000 members of the American armed forces made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War. This memorial honors their service, with a huge fountain surrounded by 56 granite columns. The Freedom Wall contains 4,048 gold stars, each representing the loss of 100 American lives.
At 555 feet, the obelisk rising between the U.S. Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial is the world’s tallest freestanding stone statue. Construction began before the Civil War but was only completed in 1884, with two different colors marking the pause in construction during the conflict.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
FDR served as President for four terms, from the Great Depression through to the Second World War. Four outdoor rooms introduce visitors to some of the most turbulent years in our country’s history.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
This familiar structure is always a favorite with visitors, designed as a small version of the Roman Pantheon. The bronze statue of Jefferson looms between the ionic columns and is surrounded with excerpts of his writings and the Declaration of Independence.
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
Located on Capitol Hill, this historic residence was the centre of the struggle for women’s rights and home to the National Women’s Party for almost 90 years. It was designated as a National Monument by President Barack Obama in 2016.
African American Civil War Memorial
This memorial recognizes the 209,145 members of the United States Colored troops who fought for the Union during the Civil War. The 9-foot bronze statue, “The Spirit of Freedom”, was completed in 1997 and is flanked by a panel with the names of those who served.
Washington is filled with other stunning statues, memorials and commemorative plaques that make a walk through the city a true journey of discovery. If you’ve never been, exploring the monuments of DC is a unique way to learn about the people, places and events that have made us who we are. Wave the flag on Independence Avenue this July 4th and enjoy the country’s biggest weekend of the summer in the heart of the capital.