If residents and visitors to Washington get the feeling, as they move among the more than 132 pieces of outdoor statuary, that they are surrounded by generals sitting on horses, they can rest assured that our city also has a wide variety of quieter monuments to offer.
We have honored poets, doctors, a landscape gardener, inventors, nuns, peace and serenity. There is an armillary sphere in Montrose Park in Georgetown for Sarah Louis Ritten-house.
It was back in 1900 when Ritten-house was given credit for saving the park area from becoming a housing development.
The National Park Service maintains over 100 statues, monuments and memorials, with several pieces in storage waiting for new locations.
"We are running out of choice locations," said a Park Service spokesman. "We do have a site reserved for FDR on West Potomac Park, and we are seeking out sites for the others."
In storage sit the Cuban Friendship Urn, Gen. George Meade, photographer Louis Daguerre, Commodore Thomas Truxton, and Sen. James McMillan.
In 1901 McMillan complained that the demand for memorials in Washington was overwhelming, but he failed in an effort to screen and place memorials on the Mall. McMillan's statue was removed from the reservoir named after him in 1941 and put in storage where he, perhaps, remains a victim of his own foresight.
The fountain for Commodore Truxton, a naval hero during the Revolutionary War, lost its spot watching traffic in the early '40s when his circle at N. Capitol and Q Streets was obliterated by a widening program.
Resting comfortably, if rusting a bit, for the past 59 years, the commodore patiently waits to get back out in the middle of traffic somewhere.
If people wonder where William Jennings Bryan has disappeared to, they can find him in Salem, Ill., on loan to his home town since May 23, 1961.
There are 13 statues of generals and one of Capt. Nathan Hale.
Four have circles named after them, including Washington, and two have squares. Three of the generals became presidents -- Washington, Jackson and Grant.
Ten of the generals are astride horses unable to brush the pigeons away that detract from their dignity.
A story has moved around Washington for years that there is some meaning to which leg the horses bearing our heroes is kicking.
"Contrary to the many stories, maybe spread by tour guides or cab drivers, there is no significance to the position of the horses forelegs," pronounced Charles Atherton, executive secretary with the Commission of Fine Arts.
"The left one raised, or the right one raised, or both of them raised is not a symbol," he said, "we have heard the rumor for years and have checked with sculptors and historians, and it has no meaning."
The only equestrian statue of a woman in Washington is a bronze copy of the famous Paul Dubois statue of Joan of Arc that stands in front of the Rheims Cathedral in France. Here she sits in Meridian Hill Park, known in the neighborhood as "Malcolm X Park," and was taken out of action for a year or more for costly repairs when her sword was stolen.
The people at National Parks could learn a lesson from their counterparts who maintain Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Mass.
There standing tall is Col. Israel Putnam who defended Breeds Hill on June 17 against the "redcoats." He also waves a sword, but each night it is unscrewed and stored awav.
Vandals try out the durability of the statues every once in awhile, and a neighbor of Lincoln Park where the memorial to Mary McLeod Bethune stands, called the Park Service one day to say that some young boys were trying to rip the cane out of her hand.
Police were dispatched and the vandals dispersed.
In another incident a rifle was stolen from the "Seabees" monument in Arlington Cemetery and recovered later in a trench at a Metro excavation site.
A stiff wind one day did what the "redcoats" were never able to do and knocked General Nathanael Greene and his horse off their pedestal in Stanton Park.
There are many fountains aiding the beauty of the city ranging from "Puck" to "Temperance," with Columbus, Bartholdi, Darlington, Dupont and Mellon in between.
Irish patriots Edmund Burke and Robert Emmet have been honored with statues along with poets Dante Alighieri, Tarar Shevchenko and our own Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who has his own little park on Connecticut Avenue and M Street.
So if someone at a family gathering suggests that they have a piece of sculpture placed under a tree somewhere for old Uncle Ben they have a lot of red tape to go through.
First it has to be privately funded and the committees involved are many.
Presidential commission, Congress, secretary of interior, National Capitol Memorial Advisory Committee and the Fine Arts Commission, all have something to say about it.
A bust of Justice William O. Douglas to be placed alongside the C & O Canal went through fast.
But two decades have passed while the controversial memorial to FDR is still being batted around.
Park Service officials say it will take over a $1 million a year to maintain.
The need for another naval memorial is still in debate.
A Holocaust memorial was authorized by President Carter.
One proposal that was dropped was the million-dollar National Law Enforcement Hero's Memorial.
Another proposal turned down was to plant a tree on the Mall for each soldier killed in Vietnam -- that would number over 56,000 trees.
A few of the odd names for statuary are, "Three Red Lines," "Acacia Griffens," "Ethnological Heads," "Man Controlling Trade," "Eurythmy," and good old "Uncle Beazley" who quietly sneaked onto the Mall 11 years ago and just won't go away.
Uncle Beazley's fame began 11 years ago in a whimsical story called, "The Enormous Egg," written by Oliver Butterworth.
One morning 10-year-old Nate Twitchell of Freedom, N.H., went into his barnyard and found a 3 1/2-pound egg.
When it hatched it turned out to be a triceratops, a member of the dinosaur family and looked a lot like Twitchell's Uncle Beazley.
Well he grew and grew and when he was 3 months old he was 22 feet long and weighed 1,140 pounds.
Young Nate took him to Washington and turned him over to the Smith-sonian and there he sits in front of their Museum of Natural History, a work of art by animal sculptor Lewis Hall Jonas, a donation from Sinclair Oil.
Like most of our monuments there is not much maintenance cost except every few years Uncle Beazley has to have his tail patched up to repair the holes made by happy children who like to use his tail as a slide.