A Founders' Memorial for Singapore's leaders: A look at how great leaders are honoured in other places

Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington on March 27, 2015.
Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington on March 27, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

This story was first published on April 15, 2015, and updated on Oct 16, 2015.

SINGAPORE - The committee tasked to come up with a concept for a Founders' Memorial that honours Singapore's first generation of political leaders will hold dialogues to get views from the public.

There will be eight sessions that will run from Oct 31 to Dec 15, and those keen to attend can sign up at www.foundersmemorial.sg

The idea of a Founders' Memorial to honour Singapore's first generation of political leaders was floated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament in April, a month after founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23. 

The memorial committee was formed on June 30 to come up with a concept for a memorial to honour the founding leaders' values and ideals and inspire future generations.

Here's a look at how some other countries and territories remember their leaders:

UNITED STATES

Homes converted into museums: A number of US presidents have had their homes turned into museums.

These include Mount Vernon, the estate of George Washington, America's first President. He served from 1789 to 1797, and died two years after leaving office. The Virginia estate has been open to the public since 1860.


Prince Charles (third, right) touring the front porch of George Washington's mansion during a visit to Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington, first President of the United States, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, on March 18, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Monticello, the home of the third US President, Thomas Jefferson, is also a museum open to the public. Mr Jefferson, a philosopher, scientist, historian and architect, designed Monticello.


Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Monuments and memorials in National Mall: There are dozens of statues, and memorials dedicated to George Washington across the US, including the Washington Monument in the nation's capital city, which is itself named after George Washington. The Washington Memorial is a 169-metre obelisk, and it stands opposite the Lincoln Memorial, where a marble sculpture of the 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln sits.


The Washington Monument. PHOTO: REUTERS


Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington on March 27, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Both are sited within the National Mall, along with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Roosevelt, who was president for four terms, led the US through the Great Depression, and World War II. There was some controversy about whether he should be depicted in a wheelchair, as he hid his disability from the public while he was in office.


An eagle emblem at the Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in Washington DC. PHOTO: AFP

Mount Rushmore: There is, of course, Mount Rushmore which has the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota.


The Mount Rushmore National Memorial with stone carvings of former US presidents (from far left) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. PHOTO: CTC HOLIDAYS


BRITAIN

Winston Churchill Memorial Trusts: The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Britain was established in 1965, immediately after the death of the British Prime Minister. It funds the travels of Britons who seek to pursue new and better ways of tackling challenges faced by the United Kingdom. Those chosen are known as Churchill Fellows. New Zealand and Australia have similar trusts.


A woman is photographed by her companion as she poses with a Union Jack flag under a statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in London on March 22, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

There is also a Churchill Centre dedicated to preserving his historic legacy. More conventional honours accorded to the wartime leader include a museum and many statues, the most prominent being a bronze sculpture at London's Parliament Square. Churchill personally chose the spot.

There are also numerous objects and places named after him, including two British Navy warships.

Hughenden Manor: The homes of British leaders have not generally been open to the public. The exception is that of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who lived at Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire from 1848 to 1881. A statue of the earl also stands in Parliament Square.


The Disraeli monument standing fifty feet high, beside Great Tinkers Wood. PHOTO: MATTHEW ANTROBUS/ WWW.NATIONALTRUST.ORG.UK


FRANCE

Charles de Gaulle Airport: President Charles de Gaulle, who ruled France from 1959 to 1969, wanted no statues or museums erected in his name. His simple tombstone, located in his hometown of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises in north-eastern France, is inscribed "Charles de Gaulle 1890-1970".

France has largely ignored his wishes, naming the country's largest airport after him, and turning his home into a museum.


Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. PHOTO: AIR FRANCE

There is a vast bronze statue showing de Gaulle marching purposely on Paris'on the Champs-Elysees.


CHINA

Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall: A bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping was erected on his 100th bithday in 2004 in his hometown, Sichuan city of Guang'an. The town also hosts the Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall, which is sited in the former residence of Mr Deng.


Former Chinese President Hu Jintao clapping after he unveiled a bronze statue of late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping during a ceremony in the city of Guang'an, hometown of Deng Xiaoping, in south-west China's Sichuan Province on Aug 13, 2004. PHOTO: XINHUA

A statue of the statesman, who died in 1997, stands in Shenzhen as a reminder of his role in opening up and developing the southern province's economy.


Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (left) and Shenzhen Mayor Xu Zongheng at Lotus Hill in Shenzhen City, where the famous statue of former leader Deng Xiaoping stands. PHOTO: ST FILE

There was also a television series on Deng's life broadcast last year to commemorate his 110th birthday.


TAIWAN

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall: The Hall was planned immediately after the death of Chiang Kai-shek, a strongman President who ruled Taiwan from 1950 till his death in 1975.


National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. PHOTO: ZUJI

It was built in 1980, and in later years, became the site of many pro-democracy protests.

In the early 2000s, when Chiang's Kuomingtang lost power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), violence broke out as the DPP attempted to rename the memorial the "Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall".

The original name was restored, but the plaza in front of the memorial is now named "Liberty Square".


INDIA

Children's Day: The birthday of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, November 14, is celebrated as Children's Day each year in memory of his dedication to education and development of young people.


India's former PM Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Singapore's former Commissioner-General Malcolm MacDonald at Kallang Airport, Singapore, in 1954. PHOTO: ST FILE

There are numerous foundations and institutions dedicated to him, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, and a museum. The Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund awards fellowships to scholars of both the sciences and the humanities.

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and the Fund are housed in his former residence the Teen Murti Bhavan.

chuimin@sph.com.sg