Though the memorial was opened, the statue that now stands at the center was not completed until 1947. Mired in World War II, the United States could not afford to use its stores of bronze for the execution of the 19-foot statue. The original statue was created in plaster and later replaced.
On the interior walls of the memorial, four panels are inscribed with familiar quotations reflecting Jefferson’s philosophies. In 1972, a professor discovered that some of the quotes displayed on the walls of the memorial were inaccurate; due to space constraints, they had been shortened and punctuation had been changed.
Jefferson stands at the center of the temple, his gaze firmly fixed on the White House, as if to keep an eye on the institution he helped to create.
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima)
(Adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery on the George Washington Memorial Parkway; Dedicated: 1954; Architect: Horace W. Peaslee; Sculptor: Felix W. de Weldon)
Located just across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial is home to one of the most celebrated patriotic sculptures, in which five soldiers and one Navy corpsman raise the flag at Iwo Jima. The statue is modeled after a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal. The three survivors of the battle posed for the sculptor, who recreated the expressions of the deceased soldiers from photographs.
The figures stand 32 feet tall; the canteen featured in the sculpture would hold 32 gallons of water, and the M-1 rifle is 16 feet long.
The memorial itself is a tribute to all Marines who have died in combat since the Corps was founded in 1775. The statue is mounted on a granite base that lists every major Marine Corps engagement, and a flag flies atop a 60-foot flagpole 24 hours a day by presidential proclamation.
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and Island
(East of the Key Bridge on the Potomac River; Dedicated: 1967; Architect: Eric Gugler; Sculptor: Paul Manship)
Theodore Roosevelt’s deep love of nature and strong commitment to conservation are reflected throughout the 88-acre island, where 2.5 miles of hiking trails pass through dense forests and marshy swamps.
Originally called Analostan Island, it was used during the Civil War to sequester African-American soldiers. The island was purchased in 1931 by the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association and was presented as a gift to the American people the following year. The centerpiece of the island, a memorial to the President, was dedicated in 1967. The memorial features a 23-foot statue of a strong, “fit-as-a-bull-moose” Roosevelt situated in an oval terrace with two roaring fountains. The terrace is surrounded by four granite tablets inscribed with the President’s philosophy on nature, manhood, youth and the state.
The Potomac cuts between the island and the Georgetown Waterfront. The Little River, a branch of the Potomac, separates it from Virginia. Rich in ecological diversity, Roosevelt Island hosts a variety of flora and fauna in its swamp, marsh, rocky shore and woodland ecosystems. Along the island’s southern end, the swamp trail passes a rare tidal freshwater marsh, filled with cattails and redwing nests. Drier patches attract foxes, great owls, ground hogs, raccoons and opossums.
Roosevelt Island is an excellent example of a wilderness outpost in a thriving urban area and can be easily accessed by land or water. Two-hour parking is available off the southbound side of the George Washington Parkway. The footbridge to the island is just minutes from the Rosslyn Metro Station. For a different experience, rent a canoe or kayak the perimeter of the island.