Shelby: We are back in D.C. with the students from Rosary High School, and these girls took a big tour of Washington, D.C. this weekend. So, they are here to help me put you to the test!
Student: That is right, Shelby. We saw a lot of famous landmarks this week, and one of them is marking its 150th anniversary this year.
Student: So, do you know which landmark we are talking about?
Student: That is today’s pop quiz question!
Shelby: What Washington, D.C. structure was completed 150 years ago in 1863? Was it:
A. The Washington Monument
B. The Iwo Jima Memorial
C. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
D. The Capitol dome
You have got ten seconds!
Time is up! The answer is “D,” the Capitol dome.
Shelby: The U.S. Capitol dome was finished 150 years ago in 1863, and today it is a global symbol of American democracy and freedom. But it had to overcome some major obstacles before it was complete.
When Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861, the unfinished Capitol symbolized a nation divided in two. And when the Civil War broke out, the fate of the country was uncertain. But President Lincoln insisted that the dome’s construction must continue, saying ‘If people see the Capitol going on, it is a sign that we intend the Union shall go on.’
Workers pressed onward, including African-Americans who began the project as slaves. Then in December of 1963, just months after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the 19-foot Statue of Freedom was mounted, completing the dome of the Capitol and symbolizing the freedom of the slaves who helped build it.
Every four years, the U.S. Capitol hosts the inauguration of the U.S. president. And this year’s inauguration theme recognized the Capitol dome’s big anniversary and the achievements of American democracy.
Well, thanks for helping us out, girls. It sounds like you learned a lot out here in D.C.
- What does the Capitol dome symbolize for Americans?
- Why did President Lincoln insist that the construction of the dome continue after the Civil War broke out?