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Lady Freedom stands atop the Capitol

The+United+States+Capitol+Building+in+Washington%2C+DC
The United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

The United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

Courtesy of Rob Hill

Courtesy of Rob Hill

The United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC

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Washington D.C. is a place where history has written itself since the formation of America. Many students here at the school and all over Arlington have the unique ability to be witnesses to history every day. However, the district does have some hidden facts that even people raised within the area may not know. Almost every single American knows what the Capitol Building is. The building itself is home to the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. Little do most Americans know, however, that there is a symbolic statue placed on top of the valuable building.

Almost every single American knows that the Capitol Building is home to the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. Little do most Americans know, however, that there is a symbolic statue placed on top of the valuable building.

Atop of the U.S. Capital, there is a bronze statue that was made by Thomas Crawford, an American sculptor. His piece is called the Statue of Freedom, which was authorized by Congress in 1855.
The Statue of Freedom is a very special art piece. It shows a classical female figure with long hair. This glorified woman, known casually as “Lady Freedom,” is wearing a helmet that has a crest on it made up of an eagle’s head and feathers. On top of that, she has a classical dress that is held together by a brooch inscribed “U.S.” Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword that has been carefully wrapped in a scarf; in her left hand, she holds a wreath of victory and the shield of the United States.

Lady Freedom stands on a cast-iron pedestal which has its lower part decorated with fasces (symbols of the authority of government) and wreaths. Just by glancing with the eye, it might be hard to put into perspective just how big this statue is. The pedestal itself is more than 18 feet high and almost doubles the total height of the sculpture. The crest of Freedom’s headdress rises roughly 288 feet above the East Front Plaza.

In 1863, Lady Freedom was finally crowned upon the dome of the United States Capitol. The people who organized this entire event made sure to have her facing east towards the rising sun since the sun never sets on freedom. Later, President Abraham Lincoln deemed her as the country’s symbol of unification in the midst of the civil war.

This statue was looked upon as a symbol of hope throughout one of the most trying times in the country’s history. She will continue to be a testament to the resilience of the American people.

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The student newspaper of Washington-Lee High School
Lady Freedom stands atop the Capitol