Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notes from the District: #2

Construction of the World War II Memorial at the base of the Mall reflecting pool was a controversial decision. Sentimental fool that I am, however, now that it's built I find it particularly affecting because it is one of the few monuments (the Vietnam Wall being another) where living memory confronts enduring memorial. The stone pillars representing the states and territories still mean something beyond an abstract representation. Iowa, California, Oregon... and suddenly I'm not seeing "memorial." I'm seeing Uncle Cy and Papa, Uncle Erling and Uncle Bernard. And I know that is writ a hundred times over among the assembled tourists -- not as raw, of course, as with the agony memorialized in the Vietnam Wall, but specific and personal all the same.

The American Battle Monuments Commission, which oversees the World War II Memorial, has undertaken a project to register all those who served in World War II, both in the military and, in a move I find particularly appealing, on the home front. Register the veteran(s) and war workers in your family: http://www.wwiimemorial.com/.

This, on the other hand, is just an especially well-placed duck:

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