#275: Jefferson Memorial
I am all about Jefferson right now, and though I have visited this Memorial many, many times during the years I have lived in DC, I think I love it even more now.
Jefferson Memorial is on the Tidal Basin, just outside of the National Mall and kind of on the Virginia side, though I am pretty sure it is technically in DC. Tourists driving into DC from VA miss the memorial, which is sad. From the road you can see the circular structure where Jefferson’s statue is and you can kind of see him standing there, but his back is to you. Jefferson’s very imposing statue faces the White House, which means that visitors coming from his home state of Virginia have a view of his back, which is funny to think about.
On the inside of the Memorial are various quotes from Jefferson’s most famous writings. One of the quotations is from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.” The inscription is taken from Jefferson’s draft which used the word “inalienable” instead of from the approved version of the Declaration which used the word “unalienable”.
The Jefferson Memorial, like the other Memorials in DC, is open all day, every day. It looks most beautiful at night and in springtime when the cherry blossoms around the basin are in bloom. I think it always looks inspired. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be moved by a man that, having been president of the United States, chose to be remembered for founding a university.