The name game: public memorials and monuments

Reply Tue 13 Sep, 2011 11:07 am
Two of my favorite monuments are the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Vietnam War Memorial. They're so completely different but both so powerful. The Tomb is powerful in it's simplicity, the unknowns representing all of us, very unifying. The Wall is powerful in that it's so confrontational, it looks like a scar, it's size is staggering.

Since the Wall debuted it seems that all memorials copy it to some extent -- every name has to be listed. I'm not sure why this bothers me, these lists, I guess it seems like it's saying "this happened to these people, not to us, collectively". It's no longer confrontational, it seems.... somehow.... anaseptic.

I started thinking about this the other day when a reporter for our local paper published a piece about driving through the deserted part of the state and coming across a small, nameless, memorial, set far back from the road. He investigated. Yes it served as a memorial but mostly it was a reminder to the people who saw it to not take things for granted. There's something nice about that kind of quiet.

What do you think of this listing of names?

What are your favorite monuments/memorials?
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Lustig Andrei
Reply Tue 13 Sep, 2011 06:00 pm
My favorite memorial is an old tombstone in an open field in a small town in NH -- Rindge. It's public land now but, apparently, at one time was part of a farmstead. Anything resembling a farm house and outbuildings is long gone, destroyed by time since the tenants left, probably sometime in the 1850s. The old stone is still there, however, and so -- presumably -- are the remains of the old farmer. The inscription on that old piece of granite is still quite legible and it says -- get this -- that the dear departed passed on and was buried on September 31, 18-something. Amazing. Last I looked, September has only 30 days.
Reply Wed 14 Sep, 2011 08:08 am
I haven't visited the Vietnamese War Memorial but I am indeed a fan of Maya Lin.

As for public memorials, I am eagerly awaiting the finish of the FDR memorial based on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
Reply Wed 14 Sep, 2011 09:54 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Ohhh.... such trickery. Maybe he really didn't die.

I remember a small cemetery near our relative's cabin on Lake Texoma. We tested our bravery by daring each other to race down there and leave an object. Good times.
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Reply Wed 14 Sep, 2011 10:06 am
I'm a fan too.

I remember the brouhaha over the Vietnam memorial. A lot of people didn't like it, seriously didn't like it.

I'm not familiar with the FDR project. It looks interesting. Ive got some reading to do.

What is it that you like about the memorial?
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