I drafted this one quite a while back, and it seemed appropriate to publish it today: The Washington Monument serves as a symbol of the United States and its unity. Standing 555 feet tall on a flat piece of land in the midst of Washington, D.C., it appears even taller than its true height. I love the 50 flags flapping in the breeze around its 55 foot wide base–representing the 50 states of the USA. Built between 1848 and 1885, the monument struggled to be completed just as the US struggled to stay united during that time period--lack of funds and the Civil War, among other issues, slowed its progress. You can still see that struggle in the color of the monument if you look closely. The project was halted in 1854 at about 1/3 complete and was resumed in 1884 using marble from a different quarry for the top 2/3s. Today, though, the 36,000 stone tower stands strong–just like the nation it represents.