Memorial plaques have been used throughout history to commemorate and memorialize historical moments in time and extraordinary people. This article shares some of the more interesting and famous memorial plaques which are in public view.
Resolute Desk Plaque
The Resolute Desk, also known as The Presidential Desk, is a large, iconic, ship-wood desk constructed from the remnants of the Arctic exploration ship Resolute. Originally a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880, it was first brought to the White House by Jackie Kennedy for John F. Kennedy's use. It is still used today by current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is adorned with a plaque detailing the history of the HMS Resolute as well as an expression of gratitude by Queen Victoria to President Hayes. Among other details, the plaque proudly proclaims:
"The ship was purchased, fitted out and sent to England as a gift to HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA by the PRESIDENT AND PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES as a token of goodwill & friendship. This table was made from her timbers when she was broken up, and is presented by the QUEEN OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a memorial of the courtesy and loving kindness which dictated the offer of the gift of the "RESOLUTE."
London's Blue Plaques
On behalf of London's Royal Society of Arts, the London County Council, The Greater London Council, and English Heritage, eye-catching, circular, blue plaques have been placed outside numerous buildings of historical significance all throughout the city of London. The goal of the plaques are to link significant figures of the past to architecture that is relevant in the present. Plaques are used to signify, for example, Alfred Hitchcock's home, the home in which Wolfgang Mozart composed his first symphony, and the homes of many other famous and groundbreaking artists, scientists, educators, etc.
St. Patrick's Cathedral Plaque
St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin, founded in 1191, is the largest church in Ireland. It is also the burial site of the acclaimed writer Jonathan Swift, who was also the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral from 1717-1745. Swift used his writing to cry out against the impositions and injustices suffered by the Irish people, and his life and writing are commemorated in a burial plaque presenting an epithet Swift wrote himself before his death:
"Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity and Dean of this Cathedral,
Where savage indignation can no longer lacerate his heart; Go traveller and imitate if you can, this dedicated and earnest champion of liberty."
9/11 Memorial Plaque
The 9/11 Memorial is located in New York City, where the World Trade Center once stood, known tragically as "ground zero" after a massive terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The memorial was erected as a proclamation of hope and triumph, as well as a commemoration of all those who lost their lives in the attack. The sixteen-acre site, complete with waterfalls and parks, is best known for the surrounding bronze plaques displaying the names of all victims lost in both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Plaques
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a fifteen-block span of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, California, in which the sidewalk is embedded with more than 2,500 individual terrazzo and brass stars, each bearing the name of an influential person from the entertainment industry--including actors, directors, producers, etc. A popular tourist attraction, millions of people have and continue to visit in order to take pictures next to the plaques of their personal favorite celebrities.