...The only limit to our realization of tomorrow
will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, April, 1945
Jefferson Clinton,May 2, 1997
On May 2, 1997,
President Clinton joined Mike Wallace, Master of Ceremonies, FDR Commission
Co-chairs Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Mark O. Hatfield, David B. Roosevelt,
Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and opera singer Denyce Graves to dedicate
the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The FDR memorial is only the third
presidential memorial dedicated in the United States this century. The last
time such a dedication took place was in 1943, when President Roosevelt
dedicated the Jefferson Memorial.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission was
established by the United States Congress in 1955 "for the purpose of
considering and formulating plans for the design, construction and location of
a permanent memorial. . ." to honor our 32nd President. In 1959, land was set
aside in West Potomac Park for the memorial, following a layout established in
1901 by the McMillan "kite" Plan for monuments in the city of Washington. In
1978, after several design competitions, Lawrence Halprin's memorial design
received final approval from the FDR Memorial Commission of Fine Arts.
The 7.5 acre memorial honors President Roosevelt in a landscape
of four outdoor rooms with granite walls, statuary, inscriptions, waterfalls
and thousands of plants, shrubs and trees. The memorial is located along the
famous cherry tree walk on the Tidal Basin. The memorial's four outdoor gallery
rooms offer visitors a historical narrative of the years 1933 to 1945, each
symbolizing one of FDR's four terms in office.
Five sculptors were assembled by designer Halprin to create
bronze sculptures placed throughout the memorial. They are: Leonard Baskin,
Neil Estern, Robert Graham, Tom Hardy, and George Segal. Master stone carver
John Benson inscribed the enduring words of FDR on the memorial,s meandering
800 foot granite wall. Among these are: "This generation has a rendezvous with
destiny." "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." "I pledge you, I
pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American People."
The FDR Memorial marks the first time that a First Lady has been
honored in a presidential memorial. It includes a bronze statue of Eleanor
Roosevelt standing before a symbol of the United Nations, for which she served
as America's first Delegate after the president's death. Also included is an
exact replica of one of FDR's wheelchairs, on display in the Memorial Entry
The FDR Memorial is maintained by the National Park Service and
is staffed from 8 am to midnight every day of the year except Christmas.
Entrance is free to the public.