Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one of America’s most beloved presidents, and the only man to hold the nation’s top office for four terms. He was a father figure to all of America, pulling us out of the Great Depression and seeing us through the darkest days of World War II. His Fireside Chats were an American institution as people gathered around their radios to hear him bring messages of hope, inspiration, and courage right into their living rooms.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. is one of the most expansive memorials in the country, yet its many shade trees, soothing waterfalls, statues, and alcoves create the feeling of being in a secluded garden rather than a government monument.
Located next to the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin, the FDR Memorial is composed of four outdoor galleries, or “rooms” that cover the highlights of Roosevelt’s four terms in office. The galleries are separated by walls of red granite from South Dakota, carved with words from some of Roosevelt’s most famous speeches.
Each room shows a different period in Roosevelt’s tenure in office. The first room introduces visitors to the early years of his presidency and the inauguration of Roosevelt’s New Deal to pull us out of the economic perils of the Great Depression.
The second room, recalls some of the highlights of Roosevelt’s term in office, including statues depicting his Fireside Chats (top), breadlines (Center), and a rural couple coping with hard times (bottom).
Between the second and third rooms, a grassy berm symbolizes the point at which Roosevelt and America confronted World War II. In the third room, a statue of Roosevelt is draped in a blanket to hide his wheelchair, his faithful dog Fala sitting nearby.
The last room honors Roosevelt’s life and legacy. A relief sculpture of the president’s funeral cortege hangs in a quiet alcove. A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt honors her role as First Lady and her work to further her husband’s goals and promote human rights.
A timeline of important dates in Roosevelt’s life and career is etched into the memorial’s plaza. More than 75 years after his death, Roosevelt’s words call out to us from the walls of his memorial. Throughout the memorial, waterfalls soothe the soul and help convey the message of each room.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is unlike any federal memorial or monument we have ever visited. We came away from our visit with a greater understanding and appreciation for the man who helped shape our nation in the middle years of the Twentieth Century.
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Thought For The Day – I decided I will never get back down to my original weight, and I’m okay with that. After all, 8 lbs. 3 oz. is just not realistic for a man my age.