Pearl Harbor National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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When I first visited Pearl Harbor in the eighties, it was called the Arizona Memorial. In 2008, President George Bush made it part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument which included sites in California and Alaska as well as Pearl Harbor.

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Now it is a separate unit again. Legislation in March 2019 designated it The Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It is run by the National Park Service in cooperation with the US Navy. Since we were visiting only a month after the law passed, they hadn’t yet changed the sign.

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The Memorial commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and the United States’ subsequent entry into WWII. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and other areas on Oahu in a two-wave surprise attack. They sank or damaged nearly every vessel in the Harbor, killing over 2400 people.

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Though devastating, the attack did not cripple the US fleet as our aircraft carriers (Japan’s intended target) were out at sea. And most of the damaged vessels were raised, repaired and sent back into action. Only the USS Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma could not be recovered.

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The Arizona still rests where she fell and serves as a burial ground for the thousand crewmen whose bodies could not be recovered. The US Navy has given the survivors the option to be buried there when they pass to be reunited with their brothers-at-arms.

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In 1962, a concrete memorial was erected over the Arizona’s remains so that visitors could pay their respects. The boat ramp to the memorial was damaged last year, closing it to the public. Our Navy-run boat tour took us along Battleship Row near the memorial but did not dock there.

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This closure prevented the survivors from coming to Hawaii to observe the anniversary in December 2018. The park hopes to complete repairs in time for the 2019 anniversary. There are only a few survivors left and they are quite elderly.

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The USS Missouri is positioned so that it faces the Arizona Memorial. Together, they represent the beginning and the end of the United State’s war with Japan. The Missouri was the site of the Japanese Empire’s surrender.

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Do not be discouraged from visiting while the Arizona Memorial is still closed. Visiting Pearl Harbor is a moving experience even without boarding the actual structure over the Arizona. Military personnel are on hand to talk about the events of the day and they, along with the  museum and film presentation, do an excellent job of humanizing the story.

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Oahu Posts:

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Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818

Designation: National Memorial

Date established/designated: March 12, 2019

Date of my visit: April 20, 2019

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This Tree of Life design is incorporated into the Arizona Memorial. It is a symbol of renewal meant to evoke contemplation.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial: Eliza Tour

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Hamilton Grange National Memorial preserves the mansion of Alexander Hamilton. Built in 1802 on Hamilton’s land in Harlem, Hamilton would live there with his family for only two years before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr.

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Upon his death, Hamilton’s political rivals sought to dismiss or take credit for his accomplishments. But Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, who survived Alexander by 50 years, spent the rest of her life ensuring that Alexander Hamilton’s legacy would not be forgotten. For women’s history month, we took a special tour of The Grange with the AHA society, which focused on Eliza.

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Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton was born into a wealthy family in upstate New York. Her father was general in George Washington’s army. She met Alexander Hamilton in Morristown, when the army was encamped there. They were married at her father’s home in 1780. Her marriage survived the nation’s first sex scandal (Alexander publicly admitted to adultery to clear up suspicion of financial impropriety while he was Secretary of the Treasury) and produced eight children.

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Alexander Hamilton died in debt. Eliza was able to re-purchase the Grange after it had been sold off at auction with some help from her connections and her inheritance from her father. She lived there with some of her grown children for 30 years before selling it to move into a townhouse downtown.

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Eliza sat for this portrait while the artist was in debtors prison so that he could earn some money towards his release.

She threw herself into charity work, helping to found the first orphanage in New York City and was the director of the organization for 27 years. She also, along with the widows of James Madison and John Adams, helped to raise the money for the construction of the Washington Monument.

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Eliza tirelessly promoted Alexander’s legacy after his death and persisted in having his papers organized and published as a biography. She demanded an apology from President Monroe for the accusations he’d made against Hamilton and defended Hamilton’s authorship of Washington’s Farewell Address.

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This piano was a gift from Eliza’s sister Angelica.

A week before the duel, Alexander wrote to Eliza: “With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu best of wives and best of women. Embrace all my darling children for me. Ever yours, A H.”

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Hamilton Grange Posts:

Location: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: April 27, 1962

Date of my visit: August 23, 2014

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Eliza’s father gave lumber from his Albany estate to Alexander for the Grange. These moldings are original and were hand-carved

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Hamilton Grange National Memorial preserves the mansion of Alexander Hamilton. Built in 1802 on Hamilton’s land in Harlem, the structure has been relocated twice. In 1889, St. Luke’s acquired the home and moved it 500 feet to sit next door to the church where it functioned as a chapel. In 2008, the National Park Service restored the home to a natural setting, moving it to nearby St. Nicholas Park.

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The Grange is the only home Hamilton ever owned. Hamilton was a penniless orphan from the Caribbean. He came to America as a shipping clerk, took up the cause of the American Revolution and is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States.

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This wine cooler is a replica of the one George Washington gifted to the Hamiltons.

Hamilton was George Washington’s Aide for most of the war and a hero of the decisive Battle of Yorktown. He was instrumental in the ratification of the constitution and became our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington’s cabinet where he founded the National Reserve, the US Mint and our currency.

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In semi-retirement from his political career, Hamilton purchased a tract of land near the Hudson River in Harlem. Back in those days, this was the countryside…it was nine miles and 90 minutes by carriage to New York City.

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Hamilton commissioned an architect to build a mansion on the property. He provided legal representation for the builders so that they could keep working on the Grange after they were arrested on suspicion of murder.

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The Grange was completed in 1802, but Hamilton would live there with his family for only two years before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr. Upon his death, Hamilton’s political rivals sought to dismiss or take credit for his accomplishments. But Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, who survived Alexander by 50 years, spent the rest of her life ensuring that Alexander Hamilton’s legacy would not be forgotten.

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Now in the midst of a public park, visitors can view a brief film on the life of Alexander Hamilton in the theater on the ground floor. There is also a small museum and gift shop on the ground floor, which is where the kitchen would have been. Tour the historic floor with a ranger or during one of the open houses…in the home’s original location, the Hamiltons could see the Hudson River from their dining room.

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Hamilton Grange Posts:

  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial
  • Hamilton Grange: Eliza Tour (Coming soon)

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Location: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: April 27, 1962

Date of my visit: August 23, 2014

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus and taken it around the Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.

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After visiting the Jefferson Memorial, we decided to just walk over to the FDR memorial instead of waiting for the bus, just to go one stop. It wasn’t too far.

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial is dedicated to the 32nd president of the United States and features four open-air rooms representing each of his four terms. As the president who saw America through the Great Depression and WWII, and also the only president to serve more than two terms, it’s understandable that his memorial is extensive.

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At the entrance is a bronze sculpture of FDR in his wheelchair. The original design of the memorial concealed FDR’s confinement to the wheelchair. In his main statue, he has a long cloak draped over it, much as he appeared in his public life to avoid appearing weak. This stirred up some controversy and The National Organization on Disability later raised funds for the addition of the statue at the entrance. FDR was not deterred by his disability from becoming a great leader.

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We followed the pathway through the rooms, past the sculptures (including one of Eleanor Roosevelt…she is the only First Lady included in a presidential memorial,) FDR’s quotes carved in granite and five water features, each symbolizing a major event in FDR’s presidency:

  • A single large drop – The crash of the economy that led to the Great Depression
  • Multiple stairstep drops – The Tennessee Valley Authority dam-building project
  • Chaotic falls at varying angles – World War II
  • A still pool – Roosevelt’s death
  • A wide array combining the earlier waterfalls – A retrospective of Roosevelt’s presidency *From Wikipedia

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Location: 1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 5/2/1997

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Thomas Jefferson National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus, and took the bus all the way to the other side of the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial, intending to work our way back.

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Thomas Jefferson is an important Founding Father of the United States. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as Secretary of State under George Washington, was Vice President under John Adams and was elected the third President of the United States

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The neoclassical Memorial building was completed in 1943. The bronze statue of Jefferson was added in 1947. The site was originally planned to be used for a monument to Theodore Roosevelt, but his memorial was dedicated on an island in the Potomac in 1932.

Location: 701 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 4/13/1943

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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View of the Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln National Memorial

2007_1124(025)Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets for a hop on and off bus, after stopping at the Jefferson and FDR Memorials, we took the bus to the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Lincoln Memorial was built to honor Abraham Lincoln in 1922. It is across from the Washington Monument in the National Mall. Fifty-seven years after the Civil War ended and Lincoln was assassinated, this memorial was dedicated to the 16th president of the United States.

The memorial features a Greek temple design, a 19 foot statue of Lincoln and inscriptions of his famous Gettysburg Address on the walls. Because of Lincoln’s role in abolishing slavery, the memorial became a symbolic location for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech here in 1963.

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Because we visited in the afternoon, it was quite crowded. But it was still moving to read some of the inscriptions and gaze upon the Washington Monument across the pool.

 

Location: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 5/30/1922

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Federal Hall National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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The site at Federal Hall National Memorial began in 1703 as New York’s first City Hall. The Stamp Act Congress met here in colonial times to protest taxation without representation.  It was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first capital of the United States in 1789 and George Washington was inaugurated on its front steps.

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The capital and Congress moved to Philadelphia a year later and the original Federal Hall was demolished in 1812. The current building has been there since 1842. It was the Customs House and then the Treasury building.  In 1939 it became a National Memorial and now contains some relics dating back to Washington’s inauguration.

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We visited Federal Hall after touring the 9-11 Memorial a few blocks away on a chilly winter day. We arrived in time to take a tour of the building with a ranger. He pointed out a lot of the architectural features and talked about the historical significance of the site.

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The ranger pointed out some cracks in the wall over one of the doorways, with gauges to monitor movement. When the Twin Towers fell in 2001, the impact caused tremors which damaged Federal Hall’s structure.

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In Sept 2002, a year after the attacks, Congress convened in Federal Hall for the first time in over 200 years to show support for New York’s recovery. In 2004, Federal Hall closed for a two-year renovation to repair the damage.

Location: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: 1939

Date of my visit: February 24, 2012

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View of the NY Stock Exchange from the steps behind George Washington’s statue. The statue was placed in this spot in the late 1800s, and is believed to be where he stood on his inauguration day.