George Washington was the Continental army’s Commander in Chief during the Revolutionary War and he was also the first President of the United States. Known for his unfailing honesty and integrity, he was beloved by almost everyone and is still considered one of our best leaders. After the Revolutionary War, Congress wanted to honor Washington, often called the Father of His Country, with a memorial statue of him astride a horse.
Unfortunately, no money was available to build the statue and George Washington’s memorial was largely forgotten. In 1836, the Washington National Monument Society held a contest for a design for the memorial. Architect Robert Mills won the contest and construction soon began. Work began over 10 years later, in 1848, but halted in 1854 when money ran out once again. Cows grazed around the monument during the Civil War.
Finally, in 1876, the work began and was completed in 1884 – almost 40 years after it was started. The monument is a simple, white structure rising 555 feet 5 1/8 inches tall. Visitors can take an elevator to the top. The Washington Monument stands at the western end of the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Questions and Answers
Question: Was Washington sad that no one built him a statue while he was alive?
Answer: Washington was a simple man with a deep love for his country. When he became President, he refused to fund the project because he didn’t think it was important. He felt that public funds should be used to serve the people.
Visit the National Park Service to learn more about the Washington Monument.
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