Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is releasing an hourlong special detailing the histories of some of our capitol’s most well-known (or so we think) memorials. From the Washington Monument to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial to John F. Kennedy’s grave, this special goes into intriguing detail about each memorial dispelling common myths and recounting the often unusual histories of each.
The documentary opensÂ with a brief description of the layout of Washington, D.C. itself and its original founding and design, as a capitolÂ city and a home for memorials.Â Though the founding of the city alone is filled with enoughÂ historical information to fill its own special, the producers manage to hit the high points without leaving important data out or simply skimming the surface.
From this point on we examine the memorials themselves and each memorial is examined in detail, beginning with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and ending with the Korean War Memorial. Other memorials include the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetary, National World War II Memorial and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial. Which memorial was designed by a 21-year old college student? Who is Kilroy and why is he a part of the World War II Memorial? These and other questions are answered and the various interview subjects manage to make the topics more enjoyable than a simple lecture on history. An hour isn’t much time to cover the amount of monuments that are housed in our nation’s capitol, but the Smithsonian Institute does an admirable job.
Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Anyone interested in the history of the many monuments in Washington, D.C.
Stay Away if: You’re not into non-fiction
To purchase America’s Greatest Monuments: Washington, D.C., visit Amazon