America has 112 national monuments. Each one is maintained and protected by the National Park Service. Many of these have become national symbols. These monuments vary greatly, but all have an amazing story, and are well worth your time. President Theodore Roosevelt designated the first official American monuments in 1906. As you get to know your America, these monuments are a great place to start. How many of these have you seen?
1. Lincoln Memorial – Washington, D.C. Built to honor our 16th president, it is located on the National Mall, across from the Washington Monument. President Lincoln, who led America during the Civil War, sits immortalized in marble. As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts millions from around the world every year.
2. Mount Rushmore – South Dakota. A sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore is this incredible monument. Located near Keystone, South Dakota, it is visited by three million people each year. With the backdrop of the Black Hills, the monument honors four transformative presidents from our past: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
3. The Statute of Liberty – New York City. A gift from France, the statue stands as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Dedicated on October 28, 1886 and designated a National Monument in 1924, the amazing structure was restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986. Any visit to Mother Liberty should include a tour of Ellis Island.
4. Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. This is one of our newer monuments, honoring U.S. service members who fought and died in the Vietnam War. It also recognizes the thousands who are still unaccounted for, and presumed dead. The monument consists of three parts: the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
5. Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine, Florida. The Spanish fort in northeast Florida served for 205 years, under four different flags. Built in 1672, it was involved in sieges with the British while under Spanish command, the American Revolution under Britain, the Civil War under the Confederacy, and the Spanish American War under the United States.
6. Mount St. Helens – Washington. This remains an active stratovolcano, located in Skamania County, 90 miles south of Seattle and 50 miles northeast of Portland. The volcano is in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanos.
7. World War II Valor in the Pacific – Hawaii, Alaska, California. This memorial honors several aspects of American engagement in World War II. It encompasses nine sites in three states, totaling 6,310 acres. It is the only great monument that is spread across an entire ocean.
8. Navajo National Monument – Arizona. Located within the northwest part of the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona, this monument preserves three amazing cliff dwellings of the ancestral puebloan people. The monument sits high atop the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system in the Navajo Nation, west of Kayenta, Arizona.
9. Little Bighorn Battlefield – Montana. This monument includes the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, fought between George Custer’s 7th Calvary and the combined Lakota-Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho force. Custer National Cemetery sits nearby. The monument recognizes the bloody battle that occurred on June 25 and 26, 1876. Markers honor the Indians who fought at Little Big Horn, including Crazy Horse, in addition to markers recognizing fallen U.S. troops.
10. George Washington’s Birthplace – Virginia. Located in Westmoreland County, the area was fist settled by John Washington, George’s great-grandfather. George was born here on February 22, 1732, and lived here until age three. He returned later as a teenager. For anyone interested in how it all began, this home is a must visit.