Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Breathtaking. I got up early and drove down to the WWII Memorial – it is very impressive. The word that kept coming to mind was “breathtaking.” (Yes, that’s not a word normally associated with a monument or memorial, but it is fitting for this one.) The Memorial conveys strength, commitment, sacrifice, compassion, liberty, and victory, even without reading the words. [picture]

I was there before sunrise and there were already at least 50 people there. Many joggers pausing to reflect, but also some families were there.

There is a memorial pillar for each state and territory which sent men to fight; interestingly, they are not in alphabetic order or any apparent order which I could discern. I sought out the Iowa pillar to remember my Mother’s brothers, William and Robert, it is right next to the Pacific archway (on the left as you are facing out) and next to the California pillar.

Beneath it is a fountain reflecting the names of some of the great battles of the Pacific, Midway, Guadalcanal and the Solomons, Saipan, Leyte Gulf, Okinawa. I touched the word “Tarawa” and thought of the men hung up on the reefs with the freak hundred-year tide.

So many battles, so many men.

This memorial is truly a worthy monument to the men who gave their lives, to those who fought with them, and to the citizens of this nation who all came together to fight against tyranny. Moreover, it’s placement on the Mall is precisely correct, between monuments to the Father of our Nation and the President who led the nation through its greatest conflict and gave birth to the idea conceived in the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal. Those who gave of themselves; this Nation in the 20th century, came together to bring that ideal to the world at large.

This is a special place.


On the other hand, Ben hated it -- calling it a "dog park"
It is clumsy and bureaucratic. It has no classic line or form. It is as graceless and hollow as the lobby of a modern governmental building.
I strongly disagree.

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