What Do You Know…

What Do You Know About Landmarks, Monuments & Memorials?

Posted: Jan 15 2017

The Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, The Eiffel Tower, your local subway entrance lamp ~ what do these things have in common?

They are all structures designed to be recognized, and they fall under one or more of these categories: landmarks, monuments, or memorials.

Let’s begin with landmarks: what are they? Imagine you are walking around New York City and need to find a specific subway station. Many subway stations are marked by an entrance lamp. This is a landmark. A landmark is an object or feature that is easily seen and enables us to pinpoint a location.

In a rural setting, it might be part of the landscape ~ the really tall pine tree in the middle of an open field. Or it could be anything that stands out, like “the purple house on the corner.”

Now let’s explore monuments. The word monument is derived from the Latin monumentum, which is used to describe “a monument, memorial structure, statue; votive offering; tomb; memorial record,” literally “something that reminds.”1 Mount Rushmore, for example, is an example of a monument, as it reminds us of four United States presidents who represented important events in United States history.

Sometimes a monument can also be a landmark: “Turn left at the statue of George Washington riding a horse.”

The root word for MEMORIALS is memory. The same root word forms words like memo, remember, and commemorate. What do these words help you think of? Memorials commemorate people or events in history, such as General Ulysses S. Grant, or 9/11.

Can a structure be a monument, a memorial, a landmark, or any combination of these?

Below is a diagram to help you compare and identify structures that fit into more than one of these categories. What do you notice about the ones that overlap?

1. ^”Monument – definition of”. https://www.etymonline.com/word/monument. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2017-12-7.

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