Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Iwalked Washington D.C.’s Fdr Memorial Tidal Basin – Room Two (“SocialPolicy”)

Iwalked Washington D.C.’s Fdr Memorial Tidal Basin – Room Two (“Social Policy”) - The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Tidal Basin was the fourth memorial dedicated to a U.S. president located on the National Mall. Ironically Roosevelt, the only American President elected more than two terms, was actually opposed to the idea of being honored via a public monument. Despite his reservations, Roosevelt was quoted once as commenting to his good friend Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurther, “If they are to put up any memorial to me, I should like it to be placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building.” Although the site had to be moved to make room for this massive 7.5 acre monument, Congress did approve erection of a fitting tribute in 1955.

Memorial Tidal Basin
Memorial Tidal Basin
The memorial consists of four “rooms,” each of which represents one of Roosevelt’s presidential terms. In Room Two we move onto a reflection of FDR’s second term (1936-1940) titled “Social Policy.” The centerpieces of the room revolve around three sculptures by artist George Segal (known for his Gay Liberation sculpture in New York’s Christopher Park). The sculptures are set to depict three various emotions of hope, hunger and despair.

The first sculpture, Fireside Chat, shows a man leaning forward on a wooden chair while listening to one of Roosevelt’s famed radio addresses. Another sculpture, The Breadline, features five male figures in their trench coats and hats awaiting a ration of food. Lastly, The Rural Couple, depicts a male and female (assumingly man and wife) with a somber and tired looking expression on their faces. Also within this room is a large five panel bronze mural titled Social Programs. Depicted on the mural are random images of hands and faces interspersed with scenes symbolizing the various fifty-four programs from the period.