Still Fascinated

vietnam memorial

I first visited the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in 2000. Now, ten years later, I am still fascinated after my most recent visit. Along a super shuttle ride from Dulles airport we drove along the northern perimeter road of the mall. “There it is, that’s the Vietnam Memorial,” though all you could see were people and not a memorial at all… just crowds of people, but people at different levels of exposure… a cluster of heads, then torsos, then legs, then even larger groups of people just beginning their descent. That was it. The people make the experience. This is in such contrast to the impossibly scaled, ornate and exposed settings of the typical monument or memorial. And, even once present before the memorial, you are again reminded of the visitors, as glimpsed across the polished black marble. Their subtle movements only enhanced by the overwhelming number of names, in such small print which fill the wall from end to end.

In moments meant for great reflection and memory, I believe the true power is exposed through people themselves and how they experience the space that is created.

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