Friday, September 5, 2008

Hey, Wait, Isn't That, You Know, What's His Name

As Washington, DC is our nation's capital, we have our fair share of monuments and memorials. Many of them are dedicated to former Presidents (Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson), others are devoted to significant events (World War II, Vietnam). At the end of July, an intrepid Washington Post reporter set out to find ten memorials around the city that deserved to be recognized. Here's the list and a link to the article with pictures. I have also linked the memorials to sites where they are explained in greater detail.
  • Women's Titanic Memorial - not a memorial to the women, but to the men who gave their lives so the women could be saved. You might recognize the pose of the statue found in Hains Point, near the water, duh. It was later used in a film that I explained as "ship sinks, boy dies."
  • Samuel Hahnemann Memorial - It seems that the good doctor has a bad headache. The homeopathic physician has his hand on his head and is seated in this memorial near Scott Circle. The memorial was erected by the American Institute of Homeopathy, which currently has its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Jim Henson Statue and Memorial Garden - Jim Henson is a graduate of the University of Maryland and created everybody's favorite frog while there. Here the late puppeteer is memorialized with Kermit in front of the Student Union.
  • Spirit of Haida Gwaii - This literal boat load of Canadian creatures sits in front of the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC to commemorate the Haida people from the Queen Charlotte islands.
  • Navy-Marine Memorial - This sits alongside the George Washington Memorial Parkway and is likely a blur in most commuters eyes as they speed past. The wave and seagulls memorializes sailors that have lost their lives in service. Note that "marine" in this case means Merchant Marine. If you want a memorial to those Marines, you need to go here.
  • Mahatma Gandhi Memorial - This memorial sits in a city close to many memorials and statues devoted to war and generals. Erected near the grounds of the Indian Embassy, it is possibly my favorite on this list.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial - The African-American educator was the first to honored with a statue on public parkland in Washington. The memorial was created by the same individual who did statues of John F. Kennedy and Albert Einstein.
  • National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II - I will admit to passing this sculpture several times and not realizing what it was for. It was erected as a form of apology for the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Around the sculpture are the words, "Here we admit a wrong."
  • Victims of Communism Memorial - This sculpture found its inspiration from two previous sculptures: the first was the "Goddess of Democracy" constructed by students during the Tiananmen protest, the second is a little larger and sits in the middle of New York Harbor.
  • George Mason Memorial - I've been here. I had a friend who got married there. But don't go looking for it. It's hard to find. Poor George, is it any wonder he also carries the moniker, the "Forgotten Founder?"


Anna van Schurman said...

The Victims of Communism? Oh for fuck's sake. Let's just make a memorial to the victims of northern aggression while we're at it. What is this? 1958 or 2008?

My favorite DC statue is the Boy Scout Memorial in President's Park (right near Mrs. BA's old workplace). Perhaps I'll never figure out why the little cob scout is being chased by a naked man.

Kim Ayres said...

Is there no Scooby Doo statue anywhere? He & Shaggy have done more to promote the better side of America than almost any other figures in history

Brave Astronaut said...

Anna - did you mean "cub"? Cob makes it sound even dirtier.

Kim - Alas, the scoob and the shagster have yet to be immortalized on a grand scale. But you can find a few Mystery Machines still on the road.

Mary Witzl said...

These are great. I love the idea of relatively obscure statues. I'd far rather visit them than the ones that everyone knows and flocks to.

Brave Astronaut said...

Mary - the invitation is open. Come anytime.

Unknown said...

I've seen 5 of them. That's pretty good, yeah?

(multi-tasking at the moment...)