On this day in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the south bank of the Washington D.C. Tidal Basin.
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind," Jefferson said.
The picturesque landmark was a tribute to the remarkable Jefferson-- President, architect, anthropologist, writer, scholar, and political philosopher. Architect John Russell Pope modeled the memorial after the Roman Pantheon, which Jefferson loved. The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in 1943, on the 200th anniversary of Jefferson's birth.
The heart of the memorial features a bronze statue by Rudulph Evans--a 19-foot Jefferson looking toward the White House. Inside, engraved on the wall, are four Jeffersonian quotations, including: "Almighty God hath created the mind free."
Today the spectacular monument is surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees donated by Japan in 1912. New state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting were added in the fall of 2001.
This allowed the inscription under the dome to be seen at night: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
More Thomas JEFFERSON Quotations
God who gave us life gave us liberty: Freedom is our right.