Unbuilding the Mall?
By Eric Martin
I found Philip Kennicott’s April 11 article regarding the history of the Mall enlightening and informative [“The Mall: If you unbuild it, they will come”]. However, his suggestion that we dismantle war memorials as veterans “pass on” is thoroughly misguided. Does Mr. Kennicott believe that these memorials exist simply to commemorate the sacrifice of the individuals and are constructed to appease survivors?
He singles out the World War II memorial as the most egregious example of “authoritarian overbuilding” on the Mall. The World War II memorial stands not only as a memorial to those who died fighting in the conflict but as a celebration of the most important achievement of this nation. Our victory against two of the most evil regimes in history saved not only this country but most of the world from oppression. I can think of no structure on our Mall more important to preserve for future generations, not because of its aesthetics, but because it symbolizes what the American people can achieve.
There is such a thing as American exceptionalism, which will continue to endure, but only so long as we believe in it.
| April 14, 2010; 6:35 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, National Mall | Tags: Eric Martin, Philip Kennicott, World War II memorial, the Mall
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