Wednesday, June 19, 2013
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.”
The words of Thomas Jefferson, some written more than 200 years ago, have shaped American ideals. Today, many of these impressive, stirring words adorn the interior walls of his memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and endures as a site for reflection and inspiration for all citizens of the United States and the world.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission was established on April 13, 1934, his 200th birthday. With the McMillan Commission, they decided to place the memorial due south of the White House, completing the 5-point monument center that Pierre L’Enfant had originally envisioned in 1791. The cornerstone was laid by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934 and dedicated in 1943.
The memorial’s circular structure, designed by John Russell Pope, was based on the Pantheon and Monticello. It sits on 2.5 acres and weighs a total of 32,000 tons. The statue of Jefferson was placed in the center of the 129-foot dome, exactly like the Pantheon. Sculpted by Rudolph Evans, the statute stands 19 feet tall and weighs 10,000 pounds.
Despite being home to one of America’s most influential founding fathers, the Jefferson Memorial is perhaps most famous for the cherry blossom trees that surround it and the Tidal Basin which the memorial overlooks. The trees were given to the United States by Tokyo in 1912 and have since become one of the Mall’s defining features.
Learn more about the Jefferson Memorial on Wikipedia.
You Can Help
The National Mall is in a state of disrepair.
Visit the Jefferson Memorial:
Did you know??
The statue of Jefferson was not ready for the memorial’s dedication due to material shortages during World War II so a stand in was used. The real statue did not arrive until 1947, four years after the original dedication.