About 50,000 people attended the dedication, including a handful of Union and Confederate veterans. The event also marked one of the first uses of new public address technology, with loudspeakers ringing the top of the monument. Other aspects of the event weren't as advanced. Robert Motem, president of the Tuskegee Institute and one of the main speakers, sat in a segregated seat away from the speakers platform.
Since then, the Lincoln Memorial has been the site of innumerable public events, taking an iconic place in the American imagination. In 1929, the building was added to the reverse of the $5 bill, and in 1959 -- the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth -- it was added to the reverse of the Lincoln cent. It was also, curiously, the only US government building in Washington hit by fire in World War II. Anti-aircraft guns had been placed atop nearby government buildings, and one went off accidentally. Its projectile hit the roof of the Memorial, but caused no permanent damage.