On Dec. 6, 1884, the Washington Monument was completed, with the placement of a nine-inch aluminum pyramid atop the 555 foot tower. Alongside the White House and Capitol Building, the Monument is one of the iconic images of the country.
More than 800,000 visitors a year ride the elevator to the top. Few of them get lowered down by Spiderman.
The topic of monuments has become heated in recent years. In 1989, people in Eastern and Central Europe, who liberated themselves from communism, often pulled down and destroyed statues of Lenin, Marx, and other “heroes” of communism. In the United States, there are frequent protests today to remove statues of anyone associated with the Confederacy.
- What do you think the criteria should be, today, for the erection of a statue? And when should one be taken down?
- There is an old saying, that “no man is a hero to his valet.” How might this relate the question of who we should honor?
- Philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friendrich Hegel added to it, saying, “No man is a hero to his valet. This is not because the hero is not a hero, but because the valet is a valet.” How might this related to the question?