Lincoln Memorial – stand in Martin Luther King’s steps on the Washington DC Bus Tour

People say he was the emancipator of the slaves and the unifier of the nation after the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln certainly is one of America’s most inspiring Presidents – he was the 16th. Such was his popularity that after his assassination in 1865 there immediately calls to have a fitting memorial built in his name. His memorial has since become a rallying point for the civil rights movement.

It’s built in the Greek Doric temple style, and was completed in 1922. Count the pillars, there’s one for each of the 36 states in the Union when Lincoln died. And above them on the attic frieze are the names of the 48 states at the time of the Memorial’s dedication.

It’s in the movies

The memorial is so iconic that it often appears in movies. James Stewart is inspired by it in ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’, it’s ominously shadowed by an alien spaceship in ‘Independence Day’ and it features in ‘Forrest Gump’ too. In fact, from ‘Logan’s Run’ to ‘Planet of the Apes’, the memorial is a star in its own right.

Speech, speech

One of the first things you notice here are the inscriptions of two of Lincoln’s most famous speeches – the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. This is a site that’s certainly known for its speeches. In 1963 Martin Luther King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from this very memorial.

Other interesting facts about the Lincoln Memorial

  • The statue of Lincoln is 19 feet (5.8 meters) high
  • Based on Lincoln’s height, it would’ve been 28 feet (8.5 meters) if he’d been standing!
  • Around 6 million people visit the memorial every year
  • It’s open to the public 24 hours a day