'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

11 August 2009

Brave Men Gentle Heros

I found this to be very interesting and some what distressing at the same time. In a book called Brave Men, Gentle Heroes, which is a collection of WWII and Vietnam father and son war stories. On page 441 Michael Takiff wrote.

On each end of the Washington, D.C.'s new World War II Memorial, to be dedicated Memorial Day weekend 2004, will stand an arch forty-three feet high - the one on the north end to represent the war in the Pacific theater, the one on the south end the war in the Atlantic theater. Inside each arch, four bronze columns will be topped by four American eagles that will together support a victory laurel; inlayed in the floor of each arch will be the words "Victory on Land," "Victory at Sea," and "Victory in the Air". Twenty - eight granite pillars, each with its own laurel, will form the semicircle around each arch. The fifty-six pillars --- one for state of the union at the time of the war, plus territories and the District of Columbia--- will, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission, "celebrate the unprecedented unity of the nation during WWII." The already existing Rainbow Pool and its waterworks will be restored to "contribute to the celebratory nature of the memorial"; additional fountains will "complement the waterworks in the Rainbow Pool ." On the western side of the memorial a "commemorative area" will recognize "the sacrifice of America's WWII generation, the Contribution of our allies, and the suffering of all humankind." With in that area the "Freedom Wall" will display four thousand gold stars---"during WWII, the gold star became the symbol of family sacrifice"--- one for every hundred Americans who perished in the war.

The World War II Memorial will stand at the east end of the Reflecting Pool that extends from the front of the Lincoln Memorial. About two hundred yards north pools west end lies the Vietnam Memorial. This structure celebrates nothing--not victory, not unity. No words appear aside from the fifty-eight thousand names--- those of the American men and women who died in Vietnam. Nothing rises from the ground--- no arches, no pillars, no waterworks. Instead, from each end of "The Wall," as Vietnam veterans simply call the memorial, the visitor walks down into the earth, as into a mass grave. At the center of the crevice, where the two halves of the Wall meet, the war's last victim, in panel 1 west, abut the first panel 1 East. No "commemorative area" recognizes sacrifice or suffering; the entire edifice is devoted to the remembering of those who died. Even the names of the memorials are instructive; The world War II Memorial commemorates an event; as part of that commemoration--- not an insignificant part, but not a dominant part either--- if makes reference to the people who perished in that event. The Vietnam Memorial commemorates no event, only people. The Vietnam Wall is not a "Freedom Wall." It is a wall signifying lost lives and lost futures. It makes no reference to what those lives and futures were lost for.

There is only silence, eloquent and deafening.

I would ask that each of you strive to insure that our Veterans of Modern Warfare do not suffer the same as the Vietnam Veterans are. We need to take care of them both physically and mentally.

The Sarge

1 comment:

The Six said...

Can I get an amen from the congregation?