Friday, November 12, 2010

FDR's Minimalist Monument (National Archives)

It's very easy to miss this simple monument on the north side of the National Archives. This memorial is dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and for a presidential monument this one is not very grand or informative.

As it turns out, that's exactly what FDR wanted. Note the second "explanatory" plaque that has been erected in front of this memorial (click to enlarge and read the text).
It seems funny that this plaque both honors and disrespects his wishes. FDR did get his modest form of commemoration - but the plaque itself goes beyond FDR's instructions, turning the president's humility into something worth of commemoration in its own right.

There is, of course, a huge and complex FDR Memorial on the National Mall - which, I suppose, adds to the irony (see here and here for more).