Sunday, May 19, 2013
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
These are the words of our 32nd President, a man who truly knew the meaning of the word courage. Despite being stricken with polio and paralyzed from the waist down, he emerged as a true leader, guiding our country through some of its darkest times: the Great Depression and World War II. The FDR Memorial honors this man and his story.
In August, 1955 Congress formed a commission to oversee the creation of a memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Before his death, Roosevelt joked to his friend, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, that if Congress ever tried to make a monument for him, he would like it to be no larger than the size of his desk and placed in front of the National Archives. Congress obliged this request and today, there is a desk-sized stone plaque in honor of FDR outside the National Archives. However, the commission decided that a plaque was not a sufficient way to honor one of America’s most beloved presidents so it selected a location in West Potomac Park, half-way between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The monument was dedicated by President William J. Clinton on May 2, 1997.
Lawrence Halprin’s design was chosen in 1978. In honor of FDR’s four terms, the monument is divided into four outdoor “rooms.” As visitors wander the 7.5 acre monument, they can see 21 FDR quotes and a myriad of statues and murals representing issues from the Great Depression to World War II. It is made entirely of red South Dakota granite and is the first monument in Washington, DC that was purposely designed to be completely wheelchair accessible.
Learn more about the FDR Memorial on Wikipedia.
You Can Help
The National Mall is in a state of disrepair.
Visit the FDR Memorial:
Did you know??
The statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in the fourth room marks the first time a First Lady has been honored in a presidential monument.