Rather than to follow the more familiar pattern of huge marble edifices with a statue inside, this monument takes the visitor on a short tour with touch points in the form of individual walled spaces, each highlighted by its own unique focal point and dedicated to a theme or period central to Roosevelt's life. Each enclosure has a fountain, statue or other feature, and more than the other monuments, this memorial is well integrated into the terrain and vegetation surrounding the basin. If you can, go during Cherry Blossom season.
The monument is spare in architectural embellishments, and rather focuses on providing quotes of FDR which allow the visitor a rare glimpse into the private mind of this most visible and public figure. It is as if by walking through the open chambers, one experiences FDR's mind grappling with the monumental issues he faced as president, first the ruined economy which had to be restored, and later the most far-reaching questions involving human rights, as he weighed the troubling question as to whether the United States should allow itself to enter World War II. The monument succeeds in its mission in evoking in the visitor an appreciation of the contemplative thoughtfulness that characterized presidential administrations of the past, and it is difficult to visit and leave this place without appreciating contrast that represents to the impulsiveness and occasional immaturity that mark important decision making in Washington today.
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