Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I was trying to come up with a topic to write about today, and was having doubts that I would even manage to blog at all. But then I remembered something I had meant to talk about last week, but hadn't managed to get around to talking about: the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

I read a very interesting defense of the monument in Slate last week. I have to say that I agree with the author. I have seen the monument, but it wasn't completely finished when I was there. It doesn't have the same kind of ambiguity about it that the Vietnam War Memorial or even the Korean War Memorial have. It's a kind of wholesome memorial, one that doesn't necessarily evoke a lot of sorrow or feelings of remorse. After all, WWII was the last war that the U.S. won outright. The last war that we were willing to call a war. To me, the monument brings to mind the architecture of government -- columns and fountains. Something you would expect to see in front of a city hall anywhere in the U.S.

Some critics have said that the monument is too impersonal, too lacking in proper memorialization of the war. But, honestly, hasn't WWII been co-opted enough that it is already lacking in personal feelings? Not to mention the fact that the veterans of WWII are getting older every day and dying off in droves? I am too young to have memories of WWII, but I know of it from TV, movies, and books. From fiction and non-fiction, I've learned about the different theaters of war and the hardships suffered both abroad and at home.

It seems that the World War II Memorial should be further removed, something comfortable. Isn't that what "the Greatest Generation" fought for?

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