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National Mall Welcomes a New Guy on the Bench

April 07, 2002|Jane Engle

Starting Tuesday, visitors to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will encounter a new fixture: the George Mason National Memorial.

Occupying about two acres along Ohio Drive near the 14th Street Bridge and the Jefferson Memorial, it honors the man who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776, which asserted "that all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights...." The concepts were incorporated into the Declaration of Independence.

The memorial, financed by more than $2 million in mostly private funds, consists mainly of gardens. Its focus is a statue of Mason (1725-1792) seated on a bench, done by artist Wendy M. Ross. Organizers say it is the first National Mall memorial dedicated to an individual American who did not serve as president. (The Vietnam War Memorial, for instance, honors many individuals.)

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