Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Moving Monument

When we visited the Vietnam Veteran's memorial today, we heard the history behind it, and I felt it warranted a post all it's own. So here's what I remember from the story...

The design for the Vietnam Memorial was designed by a 21 year old Asian-American girl named Maya Lin. The U.S. government asked for ideas for a monument dedicated to the soldiers who served in the Vietnam war. After going through thousands of memorial suggestions, the 8 judges unanimously voted on Maya's idea. At first, many were upset -- they thought that a black wall symbolized defeat, and that the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was thereby a mistake. Some Americans thought Maya's idea was inappropriate and even demeaning to our country, since it was designed by someone of Chinese ancestry, though she possessed American citizenship.

However, the work began of building the special "wall". One of the conditions for the design of the monument was that it had to fit into the layout of the land. Where the wall is placed now is on what used to be a gentle sloping hill. In a way, the wall symbolizes the wound that was made during the Vietnam War, similar to a knife cutting into the gentle slope on that landscape, as so many soldiers were lost. The Wall acts like a bandage, holding that wound in and supporting it.

Unlike what many people think, the wall's list of name's does not begin at either end, but rather in the middle. Maya wanted the soldiers that died at the beginning and at the end of the war to be together, and so the names start in chronological order, at the center of the wall and curve across to the end. No rank or order is listed, so that all are represented as equal human beings, and everyone who visits the wall can identify with each name listed. Maya chose granite because of its weatherability (if that's even a word) that will last for hundreds of years. In its polished reflection you can see yourself within the names inscribed, symbolic of how each person is effected by this war, whether due to soldiers one knew, or due to the freedoms we enjoy because of our soldier's bravery.

Finally, each of the names inscribed on the wall have one of 2 shapes after their name. The first, a diamond, represents those who died fighting for our country. The second, a plus, represents those who were missing in action. To this day, there are still 800-some names with the plus sign following their name. If any soldier who was missing in action was ever found to be alive, a circle would have been placed around that plus. However, that sign has never had the opportunity to be used.

All in all we found the Veteran's Memorial to be very moving, and we loved the symbolic imagery behind it. It gave me a renewed appreciation for the price that so many men and women have and still are paying for our country. Praise God that we can live in the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.

1 comment:

BeeJay said...

So glad you guys went to the War Memorials. It is so important to honor the men and women who fought in various wars. Some gave all...
love ya,