Vietnam Memorial

I wrote this for an English assignment that was about the Vietnam Memorial, and if I supported it or not. I chose to support the memorial and these are my reasons, thanks for reading, and please comment what you think

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1. Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial was built on November 13, 1982 (thewall-usa.com). The winning design was sent in by Maya Lin, along with 1421 (thewall-usa.com) other concepts for the memorial. Through the process of choosing and building the memorial, there were many arguments against if Maya’s design was the design to go with, but it was finally agreed upon and built.

The Vietnam Memorial created a place where the soldiers’ memories could live on, even if it was just in their names. In its creation, it designed a place where feelings could be portrayed openly without judgment or fear and it allowed anyone to reconnect with a lost loved one by seeing and touching their name. Other memorials in America list the names of the people who died in battle, but the Vietnam Memorial took the monumental task of not forgetting one individual – a national undertaking for all of America.

The Vietnam memorial began as a controversy mainly because of Maya Lin’s design aspects. “By this will we be remembered: a black gash of shame and sorrow” (NY Times article written by Tom Carhart) Tom Carhart disliked the memorial design for the sole reason it was black. He stated no other reason other than it reminded him of a tomb. But what is a tomb supposed to symbolize? The Free Dictionary by Farlex states that a tomb is “a monument commemorating the dead.” A monument. Isn’t that what they built in DC? People go to tombs and memorials to remember the memories of the people who died and fought for our country; and Maya’s design created a place where the solders memories could live on. As you go to the memorial, the stone black walls covered with thousands of names; your reflection is thrown back at you. The solders memory lives on through us; we came out a victor. Those thousands who died for us; died to protect the people they loved, for the country they loved. We remember the solders as we walk through the solemn memorial, and the sacrifice they made for our country. “For death is in the end a personal and private matter, and the area contained within this memorial is a quiet place meant for personal reflection and private reckoning.” (Lin). Her design allows us to reflect back upon not only the Vietnam war, but every war that America has ever been in. It’s a solemn reminder, but also a way to look to the future; to remember the ones we’ve lost, but then look forward to the memories we will make.

Secondly, the memorial Maya Lin created is a place where feelings can be portrayed openly without judgment or fear. Privacy is something that is needed within a memorial, and many memorials don’t have that aspect. “In direct contrast to the wall, “The Three Soldiers” stands as an example of traditional aesthetics of memorialization that utilize representative form to evoke memory. The statue was meant to portray the soldiers exactly as they existed during the war, right down to the diversity of ethnicities.” (bu.edu) such as this statue, which was fought for by Tom Carhart because it showed what the memorial should have looked like. This sculpture has no privacy, it’s in the middle of a pavilion facing the wall, surrounded by a walk way. I’m not saying “The Three Soldiers” memorial is wrong - it stands for nothing wrong - but the actions on which it was created was. Tom Carhart wanted a different memorial, he got one; one like any other memorial in the world. Soldiers in combat gear standing strong the way they would have been in Vietnam. The Wall gives a place for mourning people to come and remember their family member(s) who died in somewhat privacy from the world; allowing them – if they need to – to cry in peace. “The black granite walls, each 200 feet long, and 10 feet below ground at their lowest point (gradually ascending towards ground level) effectively act as a sound barrier, yet are of such a height and length so as not to appear threatening or enclosing.” (Lin). What about “The Three Soldiers”? If someone were to break down crying at the statue, people would probably look at that person in a weird way, giving them no privacy to grieve. “The Three Soldiers” isn’t even a memorial that you could cry at. Mall History.org puts it this way, “This statue was added after the Wall memorial opened to complement it and to offer an alternative memorial for critics who disliked the non-traditional design of the wall. The sculpture’s 3 soldiers represent the diversity of the US military … Together, they face the Wall of the fallen.” (mallhistory.org).  

Thirdly, as Americans we should support and remember those who fought and died for us, even if that is through a wall full of names. Tom Carhart and many others disagreed with the memorial because of the way it looked. But, isn’t that a way of disrespecting the many who died, who deserved to be on the wall? You may not support the design, but that gives you no right to turn it down for a simple design. The memorial allows people to come and remember, to connect with those who are lost. The thousands of names upon the wall shouldn’t bring embarrassment or shame. It should unite the American people as a whole – strengthen us, help us move on. The names symbolize so much more then people who died, they symbolize love, loss, strength, hope, anger, and so many more feelings. As you see yourself looking at the wall, reflected back at you, it is a strange feeling. That so many died for you, and we should all remember that.

So to the people who disagreed with the monument. You have the one you wanted, with the soldiers standing tall – as they should be – the American flag flying over their heads. “The Three Soldiers”, but the wall gave so much more. It gave a place that the soldiers can live on through memories, a private place to cry, and a possibility to remember all who had fallen, not just a few chosen people who were a big change to the war effort. 

 

 

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Hey! Thanks for reading my essay for school, if you have any questions about what I put, or any disagreements please tell me, I will explain my reasoning to you. Please like thank you.  

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