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Response to leftieNanner (Reply #3)

Wed Jul 31, 2019, 10:00 AM

10. Hard to walk from one end to the other without crying.

Last edited Wed Jul 31, 2019, 06:30 PM - Edit history (1)

With every step, you descend farther down toward the bottom below the surface of the surrounding park. It’s literally cut into the ground.

And as you walk, with every step the names engraved into the dark polished stone wall you slowly pass - increases. First it’s a single line of names. Then two. Then three. Then another. And another. And more. And more. And more and more and more and ... til you reach the lowest point, at the center of the long dark smooth stone “V”. And the stacks of names are so large that you can’t even make out the names up at the top of the panel. They’re WAY over your head. You’re literally submerged in names. Drowning in names. Overwhelmed by tall columns of names.

Names of the dead. The casualties of war. Every name meant something to somebody out there somewhere. Every name was wept over. Boxed up with a flag on top and buried in some grave way too soon. Every name having left an unmendable hole in someone’s grieving heart.

By the time you’ve walked the whole length of the long dark “V”, working your way back up the opposite end, where the columns of names slowly shrink down to a single line yet again, you’re back up at street level. With that dark solemn avalanche of names left behind you, etched onto the slick black wall. You do what all the loved ones bonded with those names left behind are forced to do. That is - to get on with your life. With a hole in your own heart. Even while you understand that the hole in your heart at that moment can never be as large and painful and unfillable as the one in the hearts of the mourners who are also left behind. All that stays with you is the sense of senseless loss.

And as you walk the length of it, you notice others at different places along the wall. Visitors gazing at the names, reaching out to touch one or two, making a rubbing of a name with paper and pencil as a small memento to take away. Some are kneeling, maybe leaving a flower, or a small flag down at the base of it. To honor one of those names cut into the smooth black stone. It’s reflective, so you can see yourself in it.

It is one of the most brilliant and heart-piercing war memorial designs ever conceived - by an extraordinary young woman designer named Maya Lin. She didn’t just design a memorial. Rather, she created a brief but intimate encounter with the real “spoils” of war. A metaphor that leaves a mark. It makes the pain and irreparable damage and agony of war a little bit more personal. Takes you into it and then imbeds within you. And you’re not quite the same person as you were when you started that journey at the far end of that long black “V”. And your eyes are probably moist by the time you’ve walked its length, even if you never knew anybody who was killed in that war. You too become a casualty of that war, even if temporary, minimal, once-removed, and fleeting.

War. Hmmm. Yeah.

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.


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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Roland99 Jul 2019 OP
keithbvadu2 Jul 2019 #1
keithbvadu2 Jul 2019 #2
leftieNanner Jul 2019 #3
keithbvadu2 Jul 2019 #4
happybird Jul 2019 #7
Roland99 Jul 2019 #9
LineLineLineReply Hard to walk from one end to the other without crying.
calimary Jul 2019 #10
leftieNanner Jul 2019 #11
real Cannabis calm Jul 2019 #14
erronis Jul 2019 #17
FailureToCommunicate Jul 2019 #5
left-of-center2012 Jul 2019 #6
FakeNoose Jul 2019 #13
HockeyMom Jul 2019 #20
FakeNoose Jul 2019 #21
smirkymonkey Jul 2019 #18
Talitha Jul 2019 #8
Nitram Jul 2019 #12
bucolic_frolic Jul 2019 #15
alterfurz Jul 2019 #16
FakeNoose Jul 2019 #22
CaptYossarian Jul 2019 #19
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