By David J. Smith, June 22, 2014
I recently posted on the variety of peace monuments that are located in Washington, DC. I discussed the Peace Monument found on the west side of the U.S. Capitol and east end of the National Mall. I am indebted to Edward W. (Ted) Lollis who has developed a guide to visiting peace monuments in DC and published a book on international monuments to peace.
Today I visited the opposite end of the National Mall – the west end – which is most notable as the location of the Lincoln Memorial. Among the range of peace oriented monuments and buildings located there is the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), which moved to this location in 2011. While I was at USIP, I remember a number of conversations with then president Richard Solomon talking about his desire to make this end of the Mall — often thought of as the “war” memorial end because the presence of the Korean, Vietnam, and World War II Memorials – as the “peace and war” end of the Mall with the arrival of USIP. There was also at the time the discussion of developing a peace themed tour of monuments and sites starting and ending with USIP. (Hopefully, USIP will soon put up a wayside sign to explain its mission and work.)
Besides USIP, there are several sites on the west end that would be considered peace monuments. Certainly, the war memorials there, including the Lincoln Memorial could be considered peace sites. But in addition, lesser known sites can be seen such as the Arts of Peace statue (created by James Earle Fraser, given to the U.S. by Italy and erected in 1951) as you enter/exit Parkway Drive near the Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Japanese Pagoda, a stone statue, which was a gift from the city of Yokohama in 1957 and located on the Tidal Basin near the FDR Memorial.
Also on the Tidal Basin is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial which opened officially in 2011. I was fortunate to be able to attend the dedication of the memorial with friends and colleagues from the Rockville (MD) Human Rights Commission.
Another recommendation is visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. A significant part of this memorial is the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt who played a primary role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
If you are in DC this summer, consider using Lollis’ guide and seek out sites that focus on our country’s contributes to peace, justice, negotiation, and international cooperation.