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FDR Memorial Dedication

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...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
William 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 Building.

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.

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FDR Memorial Dedication

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President's Remarks at FDR's Memorial Dedication

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