On the Pentagon 9/11 memorial

September 25, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
A few months back, when blogging about an arts-centric Washington, D.C. visit, I mentioned that one of my most memorable college moments was a spontanious road trip to the city, including a silent midde-of-the-night walk through a tourist-free Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

As I read about the intoduction of the Pentagon 9/11 memorial, I'm thinking again of that moment--the experience of a work of art helping to fuse memory and experience and right now into something powerful.

Read what Witold Rybczynski--an outstanding writer/communicator about architecture--thinks about the Pentagon site at Slate.com.

Throughout the years, there have been extremes of thought about how representational these works should be. Consider the difference between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument (and, for that matter, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). Consider our own Medal of Honor memorial on the canal and the mixed imagery of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

What should we look for in a monument/memorial? Who should it please or engage? Which monuments, locally or nationally, do you think most effectively create or inspire?  

Your thoughts
  • I've grown up with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and therefore take it a bit more for granted as a great signature landmark than for a memorial. Some of my more pleasant memories of being downtown usually involve eating lunch on its steps. However, other memorials have effected me in a variety of ways.

    I cry every time I've visited the Medal of Honor memorial. There's something about heoroes that get to me.

    The Washington Monument is awe inspiring. Being there invokes feelings of what man can accomplish.

    I was worried about visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Even though I was with my family, I had to approach it on my own. Taking some beautiful photographs kept me somewhat detached (on purpose). But later in the dusk of evening I made a solo return trip. I was sad, but more serene. A sense of importance of individuals participating in history made me glad we have such a perfect memorial for that time.

    I feel that the modern memorial designers have all recognized the importance of emotional involvement - that we all will have our own personal experiences with the memorial. We've grown beyond statues of generals on horseback.
  • I agree with ArtistDan, and would add that I believe it's all about the subject, about who or what is being memorialized.

    I've not seen the Washington or Lincoln monuments in person, but they are imposing and timeless - and awe-inspiring - even in photos. That is in keeping with who they were built for, with what the honorees meant to our country. A memorial to someone of such vast stature should have vast stature of its own.

    I have seen the Murrah building memorial in person, and to me, what is absolutely evident is the emotion connected to that event and to the victims of that tragedy. And that's appropriate, because that memorial is not in honor of life well-lived, but instead of life cut short. Awe-inspiring is not the appropriate take-away for something like that.

    Many designers today seem to understand the distinction, and that bodes well for memorials yet to come.
  • I cry every time I’ve visited the Medal of Honor memorial. There’s something about heoroes that get to me.
  • For those interested in this monumental discussion, check out blake Gopnik's smart piece in today's Washington Post about the impact of subject on monuments.


Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!