The John Paul Jones Memorial is dedicated to, unsurprisingly, Commodore John Paul Jones (1747-1792). He was a hero of the American Revolutionary War, with his daring exploits against the formidable British Navy earning him fame in the fledgling republic. He is sometimes credited as the Father of the American Navy (a title also sometimes credited to John Barry).
It was completed in 1912. Its centerpiece is a bronze statue of Jones with a decidedly determined stance and gaze. He’s surrounded by an large marble pedestal with various military and naval symbols as well as small fountains (for the naval theme). On the back of the pedestal is a relief of Jones raising a flag on a U.S. man-of-war, representing his reputation as having been the first to raise the new American flag on an American naval vessel. One notable inscription on the pedestal memorializes his words: “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight!”
Jones’s exploits during the Revolutionary War are what made him famous in American history, but John Paul Jones later joined the Imperial Russian Navy where he eventually attained the rank of rear admiral.
The memorial is close to the Washington Monument, National World War II Memorial, and the Tidal Basin. It stands on a small traffic island. If you’re standing at the Washington Monument facing the Lincoln Memorial, head 45 degrees to your left towards the Tidal Basin. It’s also an easy walk from the MLK Memorial or the World War I Memorial.
If you're coming in from out of town, here are some of the most popular guidebooks that can help you make the most of your visit.
And here are some interesting options for less traditional guidesbooks if you'd like an emphasis on exploring DC on foot or diving into some of the region's rich history.