3 Strange Facts About U.S. Monuments

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Strange Facts About U.S. Monuments

The United States is a proud country, home to some breathtaking monuments that represent cornerstone events in our history. Many of these monuments are indelible parts of our culture, but few of us know their strange histories or the events that made them what they are today. Let’s review a few strange facts about these monuments you might not know.

The Washington Monument Is Multi-Colored

Credit: mphillips007 / iStock

Located in Washington, D.C., the monolithic Washington Monument is one of the most iconic monuments in U.S. history. Its construction began in 1848 as a tribute to George Washington’s legendary leadership throughout the American Revolution and ran for 36 years until it was finally completed in 1884.

When we think about the Washington Monument, most of us imagine a huge, pearl-white tower reaching upward into the sky — but did you know that the monument is actually multi-colored?

It’s true. Look at it and see for yourself. Although the base of the obelisk is light gray, you’ll notice a slight color shift midway up the tower (around the 150’ mark). Here, the color changes into a deeper, darker gray. This discoloration was a result of delayed construction in 1854, when political turmoil forced builders to separate construction into multiple phases. Although the initial foundation was laid in 1854, the second phase didn’t begin until 1876.

The second phase used a different type of granite than the initial base, which is why the color changes as you climb the tower. But given that the Civil War had just ended, most people had bigger problems to worry about.

Mount Rushmore Was Meant to Be Bigger

Credit: JMichl / iStock

Mount Rushmore is the world-famous monument carved into the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota, featuring four of America’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Each of the presidents’ faces are an impressive 60’ tall, though according to early records from its construction, the current monument is only a small fraction of what was planned.

Reports suggest that there were several other ideas for Mount Rushmore that were scrapped, such as the addition of their torsos, written script, and a museum-type room behind Lincoln’s head. Of course, none of these additions made it into Mount Rushmore’s final design. Funding was an ongoing problem, and by the time the initial work began, the builders were limited to chiseling the faces in granite.

The Statue of Liberty Was Bombed by the Germans

Credit: Nikada / iStock

Remember the days when tourists at the Statue of Liberty could walk inside the torch? Those days are long gone, though few people today remember why. Its closure is often thought to be a result of natural wear and tear that made the torch unsafe for tourists, but this is just a myth — and the actual story is much more interesting.

According to historical records, the Statue of Liberty was the victim of a WWI-era bombing campaign instigated by German soldiers. As the story goes, the Germans sought to destroy caches of weapons and munitions that were scheduled to be delivered to Allied forces in 1916. These munitions were located in New York Harbor—the same site as the Statue of Liberty, which had been dedicated just 30 years prior.

The Germans were successful. After midnight on July 30, a series of fires and small bombs set a few barges ablaze in the harbor, which caused a chain reaction of explosions from over 50 tons of TNT. The explosion and its accompanying shockwaves destroyed the nearby area, sending fragments and debris flying through the air. The shockwaves were so powerful that some of this debris made it as high as the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which was damaged by the shrapnel and subsequently closed.

Of course, it would eventually be replaced—but with a new torch that visitors couldn’t enter. So, you can thank the Germans for that one.

Syrian Refugee “Bomber” Suspect Hangs Himself In German Jail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN NEWS NETWORK)

Syrian refugee in Germany ‘attack plan’ kills himself in custody

Reports: German terror suspect commits suicide

Story highlights

  • Investigators believe Albakr was planning an attack on Berlin airport
  • Two Syrians tied Albakr to a sofa and alerted police to his whereabouts

Berlin (CNN)A Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack “with Islamist motives” on a Berlin airport has strangled himself to death with his shirt in detention, Saxony state justice officials said Thursday.

Investigators believe that 22-year-old Albakr, who arrived in Germany last year, was close to staging a terrorist attack. German police have said that Albakr’s “approach and behavior” suggest an ISIS link.

Albakr was arrested overnight Sunday after a manhunt that went for almost two days.

“On the evening of October the 12th, 2016, Jaber Albakr, the prime suspect in planning a serious attack against the state, took his life in the prison hospital of the Leipzig correctional facility,” the ministry said in a statement on its website, also confirming the news to CNN.
The Saxony Justice Minister Sebastian Gemkow told reporters that Albakr had strangled himself with his shirt but it was not immediately clear if he had hanged himself in his cell.
Gemkow said Albakr had been seen by a psychologist earlier in the day, but it was assessed that suicide was unlikely.
Authorities then decided to reduce its checks on him from every 30 minutes to every 15.
Albakr was on a hunger strike and refused to drink, Gemkow said, adding that authorities tried to resuscitate him for about half an hour after they found his body.

Police found around 1.5kg of explosive materials in a Chemnitz apartment.

There was no video surveillance of his cell in accordance with local law, Gemkow explained.
Germany’s Spiegel Online had earlier reported that Albakr had been under round-the-clock surveillance in police custody and was considered at risk of suicide.

Arrest attempt questioned

Albakr was arrested overnight Sunday after two Syrians tied the suspect to a sofa in their flat in Leipzig and alerted police. Crime office officials said that Albakr had befriended them at a train station in Leipzig and had asked to stay with them.
His hosts learned from social media that Albakr was wanted by authorities and contacted police to come to their apartment and detain him.
Albakr’s capture ended a manhunt that lasted almost two days, and the manner of his arrest has raised questions about whether police botched an attempt on Saturday to detain him. CNN was not able to immediately contact the police Thursday. The Saxony justice ministry is expected to give a press conference later Thursday.
In a raid on an apartment in the city of Chemnitz on Saturday , which appeared to be Albakr’s home, police discovered a mix of explosives weighing 1.5 kg that they described as more dangerous than TNT. The German prosecutor’s office said the mix could cause significant damage in small amounts.
Police carried out a controlled explosion to gain access to the apartment.
Among the materials found was what police suspected to be TATP, or acetone peroxide, which was used in recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, Saxony’s crime office said.

An earlier report on the police hunt for Albakr.

An earlier report on the police hunt for Albakr.

Markus Ulbig, Saxony state’s interior minister, said that Albakr had come to Germany as an asylum-seeker in February 2015. A year later, he formally asked for asylum, which was granted in June this year.
German Chancellor Merkel has come under intense political pressure for her open-door policy on refugees. German officials said the country welcomed more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone, many of them Syrians fleeing the war in their country.
There have been several low-impact attacks in Germany this year carried out by refugees, prompting Merkel’s administration to tighten security measures.

Explosion In Ankara Turkey Caused By 300 Kilogram (660 lb) Bomb

(This article is courtesy of the Ankara Turkey Daily Sabah News Paper)

The explosion that killed 37 people in Ankara on Sunday was caused by a 300 kilogram (660 pound) bomb consisting of a mix of RDX, TNT and ammonium nitrate, a security source said Wednesday.

Both RDX and TNT have military and industrial applications while ammonium nitrate is an explosive compound that mainly used as a fertilizer but is often added to homemade bombs.

The source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said the composition and scale of the bomb was similar to the device used in an attack on military buses in Ankara on Feb. 17 that killed 29.

PKK terrorist Seher Çağla Demir, 24, has been identified as the bomber by the Turkish authorities, who are also investigating the possibility there was another terrorist in the car.