Visiting the Lincoln Memorial | The Washington Center

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial

When I was visiting Rome several years ago, I remember imagining what the Forum would have been like when it was teeming with people - merchants, politicians, tourists from all parts of the empire - and framed by majestic temples to the various gods and goddesses.

 

Ever since visiting D.C. for the first time several years ago, I have wondered what about the Lincoln Memorial enraptures me. I finally figured it out this past weekend while leaning against one of the massive columns.

 

Lincoln Memorial, courtesy of A View on Cities

 

Facing the Capitol from the opposite end of the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial sits across the river from Arlington Cemetery on the Potomac River. The Greek-style monument to President Lincoln is a beautiful structure - my favorite of all D.C. landmarks - and its cool interior provides a space for visitors to contemplate our national history and the progress we've made as a nation.

 

My view from the Lincoln Memorial

 

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial again this past weekend, I couldn't help but think of Roman ruins and the way we perceive them today - markers and relics of a former world power. Walking into the Lincoln Memorial for me is, I imagine, like walking into a Greek or Roman temple two thousand years ago. And I wonder how people will perceive the Lincoln Memorial two thousands years from now. What will they deduce about us and our nation from the monument? Reading Lincoln's eloquent words engraved on the walls, I hope it'll be his words that live on.


As I sat on the floor re-reading his Second Inaugural Address, I overheard a dad making his kids read every word of the speech until they found the mistake. Diligently, they would read a few words guess, read a little more and guess again. Finally, they stopped on the word "Future," where the "F" seems to have begun as an "E" and have been covered over later. I had overlooked it every time before. I always learn something new.

 

Until next week,
-T


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