Washington Side Trip: Monuments at Night

During my trip to DC in June 2019, I took a charter bus as part of a group tour across the National Mall to tour its monuments at night. We visited the Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. Here’s some images of what I saw.

Jefferson Memorial– 4/5 An isolated, Pantheon-inspired dome out on the Tidal Basin. A fitting memorial to the third president, and the one who bought the Louisiana Territory. Although it’s difficult to access and not my favorite, I do appreciate it. Flocks of geese live here, and while they are not at fault, the sidewalks are paved with excrement. So watch your step.


FDR Memorial– 4/5 A comparatively recent tribute to FDR, the man who led the country through the Great Depression and most of World War Two. There are four different segments, each one representing one of Roosevelt’s four terms. Here you can see sculptures, statues, and carved quotes from the president, including a man by a radio (referencing FDR’s Fireside Chats, a public relations campaign to rally support of the New Deal) and a Great Depression breadline (and please, PLEASE don’t be a moron and pose with the impoverished statues).

MLK Jr. Memorial– 5/5 In my past trips, I don’t recall liking this memorial that much, but upon revisiting it I gained a newfound sense of admiration. In honor of the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., a stone monolith protruding from a “mountain of despair” with MLK in a relief form. The lifelike stonework is perfect here, from the veins on his hands to his detailed expressions, as well as neighboring placards with his legendary quotes and speeches. And the simplicity of the surrounding stone, with fluted sides, even helps it to stand out even more. A great memorial to a great person.


Lincoln Memorial– 5/5 The most imposing, and consequently most impressive monument on the Mall. Beautiful columns support a roof lined with stone inscriptions of each of the United States by name. Inside is a glorious statue of the sixteenth president, but what caught my eye was the chiseled, still-ringing words of the Gettysburg Address on the side.


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