JOURNEYS: A Night Visiting Leaders of the Past


On one of my last nights in DC, my cousin Jeremy took me to see the monuments at night. After dinner with a few of my co-workers, we took a cab to the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials. The last time I was in DC, which was over ten years ago, we did not make it out to these monuments and I was ecstatic to see them.

FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Our first stop was to the FDR Memorial. The memorial is off the beaten track and many tend to skip this one when they visit DC. My advice? Don’t. It was, by far, my favorite memorial. Unlike the other presidential memorials, there is not one iconic image or look. The way it outshines the others, in my opinion, is that it is a true representation of the president, not just a grand structure.

FDR Memorial

The monument is a trip through President Roosevelt’s four terms. There are statutes symbolizing each term and famous quotes engraved on the brick walls. While it is open, the lighting makes the monument feel intimate and the water falls give it an intimate feeling.

Me standing next to the Eleanor Roosevelt statue

There are two statues I found to be particularly special. The first one you see when you walk in is of the president in his wheelchair. I was very pleased to see that they did not back away from who President Roosevelt truly was and included him in his wheelchair. I was not surprised to read later that this was added after the memorial had opened due to protests. For some reason I did not take a picture (probably because it was at the very beginning and I was so excited to walk through), so my apologies. The second statue I want to highlight, is one of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt was one of the most impressive women in history. While their marriage may not have been one to be desired, Eleanor certainly influenced the president in politics and was almost a partner and advisor to him. She is the only First Lady there is a statue of and it is certainly deserving.

Jefferson Memorial

After spending time in the FDR Memorial, we walked over to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. It was a nice night and a lovely walk. The Jefferson Memorial is very similar to the Lincoln Memorial. A magnificent, Greek architecture-inspired structure featuring a large statue inside with several famous quotes from the president surrounding the statue. It is very iconic and the quotes along the walls are wonderful.

Jeremy and I while viewing the monuments at night.

There is one more thing I wanted to say about DC but I didn’t know where exactly to fit it. I was incredibly impressed with how active the city is. No matter the time of day, you see people out and about going for runs, playing ball in the parks. I don’t recall seeing that in other cities like Chicago or Boston. Unfortunately, I was only able to go for one run the entire trip, but from that one run I can understand why it is such a fit city. You see sites like on every run:

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