And then there were 11 – an iconic individual joins the monumental ranks of the United States of America’s greatest historical figures.
By Adoria Doucette
A beacon for tourists all over the world, the National Mall in Washington D.C. has enshrined 11 individuals with monuments to their accomplishments which embody what is great about America.
The centerpiece of our nation’s front yard is the world’s tallest stone structure, the Washington Monument, which commemorates the great Revolutionary War General and America’s first President George Washington. This great obelisk stands dead center between the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. These two Presidents and Civil War heroes face each other, representing their joint effort to save the Union during the great American war.
The James Garfield Memorial pays homage to the famous “scholar President” who strengthened Presidential power after a distinguished career in Congress. The George Mason monument is dedicated to the imminent Virginian and founding father, who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights which was the blueprint for the US Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, whose memorial stands to recognize the great character and mind of the 3rd US President. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally requested the creation of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, probably never imagining that an FDR memorial would also be erected on the National Mall.
John Paul Jones is considered the “Father” of the US Navy, and his naval leadership during the Revolutionary war was pivotal towards America’s victory, thus the inclusion of his memorial amongst the greatest American heroes. John Ericcson had his own unique contribution to American Naval history and supremacy, with his monument celebrating his genius invention of the screw propeller, vital in establishing US Naval excellence, along with his design of the USS Monitor, which ensured the Union’s naval victories during the Civil War.
Albert Einstein’s contribution to science is unquestionable, and his love of American democracy is celebrated with his monument on the National Mall. The monument captures in stone the three greatest theories to come from the mind of Einstein, that of the Photoelectric Effect, the Theory of General Relativity, and the famous Equivalence of Energy and Matter, E=MC(2) .
These ten men came from all walks of life, yet they are immortalized in stone for millions of global visitors that flock to the National Mall to bask in the idealistic and practical glory that their accomplishments represent.
This past weekend, August 28, 2011, in the 235th year since Washington, Mason, and Jefferson led the effort for the independence of our nation, a new monument was unveiled to celebrate the life and permanent American legacy of an outstanding citizen.
During the mid-1940’s on the campus of Morehouse College, Martin was known as a charismatic young man. His grades were average, and he wrestled with how to deal with the overwhelming legacy of his father, an imminent religious figure in the southern region of the United States. As that particular period of history began to become tumultuous and threatened the future and productivity of his generation, Martin Jr. made the famous decision to embrace the ideals of humanity and spirituality. He chose to follow in his father’s footsteps into the ministry. The rest is history, and this young man matured to become an individual now immortalized along with the other 10 Americans that have literally shaped the great nation that is envied around the globe, and that we proudly call home.