on October 26, 2006
The Lincoln Memorial is one of those things that you see on TV, but you really can't get a good sense of the monument from still pictures. That may seem strange because it is 'a statue' but being in the Memorial is really more awe-inspiring than I would have imagined.You climb up the steps to the Memorial, and you look out at the Washington Memorial and the reflecting pool. It is an amazing view. Then you enter the Lincoln Memorial. The statue of Lincoln is of course huge and impressive that way, but just as impressive is how everyone in the Memorial is respecting the silence. There are a few hushed whispers and footfalls, but people are there to do more than be tourists and it shows.There are two of Lincolns most famous speeches, the Gettysburg address engraved on the walls in the 'side' rooms of the memorial. You will find people there reading them, getting the history from them. Absorbing the Lincolness of it all. This whole experience is marred slightly by the gift shop. There is a gift shop inside the Memorial, which seems a bit odd. However, it is mainly a book store, so that helps a bit I guess.Mom took the elevator up with the stroller so we wouldn't have to carry it up all those stairs, which turned out to be very useful, as she discovered all the information on the ground floor. We did not realize that there was a museum of sorts downstairs, and probably would not have seen it, if not for the elevator.The museum included more quotations from Lincoln, history, etc. There is also a supersized Lincoln Memorial penny hanging on the wall. Another useful thing we discovered, is that there are restrooms on the ground floor. It's very useful to know these things when travelling with small children.This was one of the places that the 8-year-old really wanted to go, and he was not disappointed. He didn't know much about any of the presidents of the US before our trip (we are from Canada after all) but he learned something about Lincoln here. The monument is open to visitors 24 hours a day and there are park rangers there during the day to answer questions. (It's a National Park.)When we were there, there were some roads under construction and strange things going on, so we ended up driving across a bridge to Arlington National Cemetery by mistake. We looped around and parked on Constitution Avenue and walked a short distance to the monument. On the way back to the car, we discovered we were walking past the Vietnam War Memorial. (Which becomes more impressive the nearer you get.)Overall, the Memorial is well worth a visit. And it is definitely worth getting off the tourmobile for a while.
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