Walk of the Monuments

I am finally finding time to write another blog post now that it is past mid-August when all of the grant recommendations at NSF need to be forwarded to the finance divisions.

Fall has also arrived with cooler temperatures and lower humidity.  It’s a great time to enjoy my two favorite walks in DC.

A good place to start the Walk of the Monuments is at the Smithsonian Metro station, which is on the Orange and Blue lines.  Exit on the Mall side, turn left and then make another  left.  You should do this walk twice – once during the day and once in the early evening.

In 2014, the Washington Monument will return to its pre-earthquake look, but for now you have to enjoy it shrouded in scaffolding,

1Wa Monument without scaffolding1Wash Memorial with setting sun

which can be quite spectacular with its new lighting (note: that is Venus to the right of the monument)

1Washington Monument's New Look + Venus

Head to the Washington Monument and then around it to the WW II memorial.

1WWII Memorial

I think this is the least spectacular of the monuments, but you do have to peruse the bronze, bas-relief images along the entrance, which provides vignettes of the many roles people played during the war.

1WW II Mural  with pilots

1WWII mural with medical

Don’t forget to look back at where you came from, as the Washington Monument will change its look depending on the angle of the light.

1Wa Memorial from WWII

Take some time to view the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool from behind the WW II memorial, especially if it is near sunset, as it can provide some beautiful views.

1Reflecting Pool toward Lincoln

Head to the right of the Reflecting Pool to the Vietnam Memorial.  Depending on the lighting, you can get some interesting reflections off this somber listing of soldiers who died during the war – especially if visitors are making rubbings of loved-ones names.

1Vietnam with reflections

Be sure to see the two sculptures – sometimes hard to find between the wall of names and the Reflecting  Pool.  They are emotive reminders of the fear and agony of war.

1Vietnam male sculpture1Male Vietnam close up

1Vietnam female sculpture1Female Vietnam close up

Now it is on to the Lincoln Memorial

1Lincoln close up

Next is the Korean War Memorial, which is on the opposite side of the Reflecting Pool from the Vietnam Memorial.  It provides haunting images of what it must have felt like to be on a patrol through the Korean forests.

1Korean Memorial

1Korean Close Up

After the Korean Memorial, walk south to cross Independence Avenue.  Once across Independence, turn left and head a couple blocks to the Martin Luther King Memorial.  Opened in 2011, the memorial is dominated by an image of MLK and includes some of his most compelling statements.

1MLK sculpture

1MLK Quote 2a

Leave the MLK monument by walking to the right along the edge of the Tidal Basin.  You will soon arrive at the FDR memorial – my favorite memorial because of the many fountains, life-size images that evoke the challenges of his 12+ years in office, and the many quotes that are still relevant today.

1FDR in wheelchair

1Radio listener quote

Bread line photo1

1Bread line quote

Like most of the monuments, it takes on an entirely different look during the evening, which is why I think you need to do the walk both during the day and in the early evening.

1FDR fountain at night

Finally, continue around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial

1Jefferson Wide View

1Jefferson narrow view

Finally, it’s back to the Washington Monument.  You’ve now covered 3+ miles, but still short of the 10,000 step you’re supposed to get each day.

The next blog post will feature my other favorite walk – the Great Circle Route in Rosslyn.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Walk of the Monuments

  1. jenny l. williamson says:

    Thanks for the tour of your evening walk, Dennis. i loved the images that you shared, though i’m no great admirer of Jefferson or his monument and always skip that particular monument when i am in DC. How many steps IS this walk – for surely it’s close to your 10,000 steps…


    • Dennis says:


      Nice to hear from you. Depending on how much you walk around each monument, you can go over 10,000 steps. Usually it is between 8,000 and 9,000 steps

      All the best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s