The Monument of Religion

Cecilia Paz
DC History
The Monument of Religion

Washington DC is the nations capital where millions of people gather to experience the rich history of America's foundation. The foundation of the United States as a country is represented in the cities important buildings and statues. Washington, DC is a symbol of our democratic country, as well as our faith. Some may call it, a "city of magnificent intentions", however the National Cathedral is a perfect example of the nations symbol concerning religion.
The National Cathedral was intended to and still remains the nation's place of gathering, open to the public for prayer. The history of the Cathedral begins in 1907 when the first stone was laid to build the church. However the thoughts to create a national symbol of faith began much earlier when, Pierre L'Enfant, the creator of the city envisioned, "a great church for national purposes." The establishment of the church began in 1893 when Congress gave the District's Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation permission to build a cathedral for "higher learning".
Although the church was granted permission to be built, the National Cathedral was not supported by the government or a specific church, but instead donations and gifts from individuals. The cathedral resembles a castle that requires the publics help. The cathedral although appearing fancy and glorifying, is constantly in need for money. At first I did not know why the church requested so much money but walking around in the cathedral, I answered my own question. The cathedral was not supported by the government but instead individuals. The cathedral because of this, took along time to be completed like the capital. Both had problems with money and workers.
The National Cathedral was finally built in the shape of a cross, influenced by the European Gothic architecture. The Gothic architecture was inspired by one of the architects, Philip Hubert Frohman. He believed that the "Gothic style could truly glorify God. Only the Gothic style could express the deep convictions of his faith". Although the United States is its own country, Europe still influenced our establishments even in our cathedrals.
The windows in the National Cathedral represents the diversity of the church. The Cathedral holds more then 200 windows that share the founding of our faith. The windows because of its beautiful colors and images share stories that attract millions of people in the nation. The windows in the cathedral follow specific themes. In the west the top tells stories from the Hebrew Bible. The lower windows tell stories of the work of humanity as an expression of faith. Others windows tell stories of historical events, such as the Scientific and Technicians window which captures a outer space photograph giving to them by NASA, which has a piece of moon rock in the center of it. The windows represent stories that influence our way of living from the bible or historical.
Amendment one states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". The cathedral although not supported by government, has become the symbol of the nations religious building. In the nave within the cathedral, each state is represented with there states flag. The flags are hanged in the same order they entered the union. Each week a state is honored in the cathedral during prayers. This shows how the National Cathedral has captured the ideology of American government. Not only are the flags hanging in the nave but the states seals are the main attraction when entering the cathedral on the main floor
The National Cathedral has held historical events in the past that has caused millions of Americans to attend the cathedral. Some of Americas influential leaders have spoken at the cathedral, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Not only did influential leaders speak there but presidents and important American figures have also been buried there. People like Helen Keller and President Woodrow Wilson.
Visiting the National Cathedral I have become more American. The National Cathedral is a part of history that represents religion in our nation. The cathedral although being started in 1907 has currently been completed in 1990. It was my first visit to the cathedral last weekend. I watched videos of the making of the religious building and walked in the museum part of the cathedral. Walking into the cathedral I saw the seals that captured my attention. The seals were symbols of unity in the cathedral and also were symbols of how religion influences government.
Recently, an event that has brought the National Cathedral's attention to millions of American has been the "servant work in worship" of President Obama. This is the service held at the Cathedral on January 21, known as the fifth-sixth Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service. The President and his wife attended this ceremony, proving that religion is important in the beginning of change to our nation. The cathedral played a significant role in the arrival of our new president in the White House
Religion influences Americans in the decisions they make everyday. Religion has shaped American ideals and remains an important factor in law making today. Conservatives and liberals face oppositions concerning the governments involvement in issues such as abortion. Controversy of this problem develop because of religion beliefs.
The nations capital, is made with symbols that tells stories of our history. The Lincoln Memorial honors the leader that kept the union together. The Washington Monument honors the president who led our country into independence. Some may call the National Cathedral a "monument to jesus" or a monument to our nations religion, overall the National Cathedral is a symbol of how Washington DC is a city rich with history, democracy and faith.

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