Washington, DC: The Mall: W part — from statue to statue

At the west end of Washington’s The Mall is a large Tidal Basin reservoir. They erected monuments around him.

They are not monuments in the European sense of the word. There is a lot of space here, as everywhere in the US, so each of the monuments received a serious piece of this resource. And a walk between them is a few kilometers long.

The first of them – a large fountain – is a monument to those who died in World War II. That this monument can be seen after two stone gazebos on both sides dedicated respectively to the Atlantic and Pacific and the sign prohibiting wading in the fountain because of the need to behave solemn (sitting on the edge with legs in the water allowed). Ducks, which especially enjoy the flow from the fountain to the rectangular long pond, do not care, and the angles of refraction on the surface of a small waterfall ridiculously curves their legs.

The long pond is, by the way, a fragment of the Lincoln Memorial at its other end – and designed to reflect it in its surface. At Lincoln, which occupies the place of a deity statue in a neoclassical temple, crowds – from runners and school trips (also with hats from Trump’s presidential campaign) to symphony orchestra.

Not much less crowds are at the stone slightly mirror monument of killed in the Vietnam War. Their names are engraved in the slabs. Some visitors copy the names of family or friends by applying a piece of paper and covering it with a pencil, as one copy patterns of coins in childhood. Sometimes it requires climbing on the colleague’s shoulders.

On the other side, soldiers of the Korean War sneak through park thickets playing here the role of the jungle.

Not far away, Martin Luther King stands on the edge of the Tidal Basin with a rock split in two behind him and looks at the statue of Jefferson on the opposite side, the third US president who, although he was an opponent of slavery, was also one of the largest slave owners. His monument stands in a gigantic neoclassical rotunda in front of which a large flock of barnacles rested.

On the way there is also the Roosevelt monument, in the form of a maze and waterfalls leading the visitor through his four terms. From New Deal through war to his funeral. On the walls are the words of his famous speeches. “I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.” There are no crowds here.

(July 2018)