What Is A National Memorial?

A national memorial is an area or feature recognized and protected by the government that honors a historically significant person or event. Some of the memorials included under the national designation don't include the world "national" in the name but are still considered a national memorial, for example, the  Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial.

The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for overseeing most of the national memorials, but there are a few memorials that are looked after by other departments. The first national monument was the Washington Monument, which was finished in 1884 and looked after by NPS starting in 1933. Other, more recent additions to the national register include the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial debuted on the National Mall in DC in 2011 and was the first of its kind to commemorate an African-American leader. The stone sculpture was chosen to honor words he used in a speech, "out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

The Flight 93 Memorial honors the passengers and crew who took down the hijacked plane that was set to attack the Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, 40 of those people were on board Flight 93.

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