What memorials are at the top of your “must see” list? The National Park Service lists 152 national monuments in the United States. A list like that can make it extremely difficult to choose which ones to see, but we’ve given you our top five national memorials to see in your lifetime.
- The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from France to the United States, serves as a worldwide icon of freedom and democracy. Initially named “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World,” it was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886 and designated as a National Monument in 1924. To the many immigrants coming to the United States through Ellis Island in the 20th century, she stood as a symbol of promise for new beginnings with her arm raised high, welcoming them. Today she continues to offer hope for the American dream to all who see her.
- The Lincoln Memorial, the most visited memorial in Washington D.C., celebrates the 16th president of the United States and is a tribute to his character, leadership and sacrifice. Daniel Chester French’s enormous marble carving of Abraham Lincoln rest atop the grand, breathtaking stairs that lead up to this national memorial. History-making moments like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the Marian Anderson concert in front of a crowd of 75,000 people are proof his legacy continues today.
- The Grand Canyon in Arizona offers breathtaking views from the North and South Rims. It is one mile deep, 18 miles wide and 277 river miles long. Scenic desert drives, whitewater and smooth water rafting trips on the Colorado River, hiking, biking, mule trips, and museums are just a short list of things to do. The Grand Canyon Railway promises a historic and fun journey to the canyon with the help of authentic western characters who bring the Old West to life.
- USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, was built in 1962, above the sunken Battleship USS Arizona. Approximately15 minutes into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was bombed with 1,177 sailors and Marines on board. She lies just where she fell that day, just off the coast of Ford Island. The memorial commemorates the crew of the USS Arizona, and the other service members and civilians who died during the attack.
- The Korean War Veterans Memorial is not far from the Lincoln Memorial (#2 on our list) in Washington, D.C. Dedicated on July 27, 1995, it honors the sacrifices of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed services from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. Perhaps one of the most impactful lasting experiences to have at this memorial is glimpse the 19 stainless steel servicemen stand approximately 7 feet tall, representing an ethnic cross section of America. Of the 36,574 Americans who died in the three years, 8,200 are listed as missing in action, lost or buried at sea.
Interestingly, Honouliuli National Monument is located approximately 15 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor in Waipahu, Hawaii. Also, on the National Park Service list, it’s not yet open to the public. Once complete, it will tell the story of internment, martial law, and provide a deeper understanding of what prisoners of war endured in Hawaii during World War II. It could potentially make our top 5 in the future.