Memorial Statues

A memorial is an object made with the specific intention to preserve a memory or an event. It serves to keep the remembrance alive within a community. The United States of America is filled with monuments and statues to forever mark the nation’s greatest triumphs and darkest hours.

Below is a list of the top ten American Memorial Statues:

1. The Statue of Liberty

A colossal neoclassical sculpture, the Statue of Liberty stands tall on Liberty Island, which is located in New York Harbor. The statue is a representation of the Roman goddess of Liberty, Libertas.

It was designed by French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, while its metal structure was made by Gustave Eiffel. The entire statue (from the ground up to the crown) stands more than 300 feet tall.

Also known affectionately as ‘Lady Liberty’, the statue depicts Libertas carrying a flaming torch in her right hand directly above her head. She holds a tablet in her left hand, with the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence engraved on it in Roman numerals.

A broken shackle lies at her feet which is a symbol of the end of slavery in the United States.

The Statue of Liberty is a famous national park and popular tourist attraction. It draws a large number of visitors on an annual basis. The statute itself has become synonymous with the principles of liberty and freedom.


2. Christ of the Ozarks

This is a monumental structure depicting Jesus Christ. It is located atop Magnetic Mountain near Eureka Springs in Arkansas. Erected in 1966 as a ‘sacred project’ by American clergyman and far-right politician, Gerald Smith, it stands 65.5 feet high. The statue is primarily the work of Emmet Sullivan, who also assisted in the work of the famed Mount Rushmore.

Gerald Smith served as organizer for Huey Long’s organization during the Great Depression. He later retired to Arkansas, where he decided to build a religious theme park which he called ‘sacred project’. Built on minimalist and modernist lines, the statue was commissioned by Smith and stands at the center of his mansion grounds.


3. Robert E. Lee Monument

The Robert E. Lee Monument was built in honor of Commander Robert Lee, who led the Army of Northern Virginia until its surrender in 1865 during the Civil War.

An outdoor bronze, equestrian statue of Commander Lee atop his horse Traveler, it was commissioned in 1917. It is located in Market Street Park in Virginia, Charlottesville. It is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1991.

The statue was caught in the midst of a controversy in 2016 when many people, including the Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, called on the City Council to remove the monument since it disrespected certain members of the community. However, in April 2019, Judge Richard E. Moore of Charlottesville Circuit Court ruled that it could not be removed by local authorities as it is a war memorial and protected by state law.


4. Lux Mundi

Lux Mundi is a 52-foot tall statue depicting Jesus Christ. It is located at Solid Rock Church near Monroe, Ohio. Designed by Tom Tsuchiya, it replaced the King of Kings statue, which was struck by lightning, set ablaze and destroyed in 2010.

Lux Mundi, which is Latin for ‘Light of the World’, shows Christ stepping forward with a welcoming gesture. The design of the statue was inspired by the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John. It has earned the affectionate nickname ‘Hug Me Jesus’.


5. Statue of Freedom

A bronze statue designed by the famed sculptor Thomas Crawford, the Statue of Freedom crowns the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington. It is also known as ‘Armed Freedom’, or more simply ‘Freedom’. It stands on a cast iron globe directly atop the Capitol.

Standing more than 19 feet tall, the statue depicts a female soldier. She is wearing a helmet and holding a sheathed sword in her right hand, while she holds a laurel wreath and shield in her left. Her chiton is partially covered by a heavy Native-American fringe blanket, thrown casually over her left shoulder.


6. General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument

An equestrian statue of American Civil War general Major Sherman, it is located at Sherman Plaza in President’s Park, Washington. More than 17 feet high, the statue stands atop a granite pedestal, which is a further 25 feet in height. Unveiled in 1903, the statue was developed by various different artists after the main designer, Carl Rohl-Smith, died before it could be finished. It was added in 1973 to the list of Civil War Monuments.


7. The Three Soldiers

Designed by Frederick Hart, this bronze statue was unveiled in 1984 on Veteran’s Day. It is part of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. It is the first representation of the African American community inside the National Mall. It portrays the major ethnic groups represented in the ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. The design of the statue was later copyrighted by both Hart and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund.


8. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Located in West Potomac Park right next to the National Mall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a 30-feet tall granite statue. It was carved by sculptor Lei Yixin.

The statue was inspired by the Civil Rights leader’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. The sculptor was criticized for showing King Jr. in a stern light. However, King’s son, of the same name, was pleased with the sculpture saying, ‘Well if my father was not confrontational, given what he was facing at the time, what else could he be?’


 

9. Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial was built to honor the 16th President of the United States of America. Located in the National Mall, Washington, it depicts a classic Greek Doric Temple, the central chamber of which houses the statue of President Lincoln. Designed by Daniel Chester French in 1920, this statue is 60 feet tall.

A major tourist attraction, the memorial has long since been the symbolic center of race relations within the United States due to Lincoln’s abolishment of slavery via the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.


10. Bunker Hill Monument

Erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place during the American Civil War, the monument is more than 200 feet high. A total of 294 steps lead to the top.

It is one of the sites of the Freedom Trail, which is a 2.5 mile long path through downtown Boston and passes 16 specific locations closely related to the history of the United States. The monument is a part of the Boston National Historical Park.