most of the central part of the city. (Completed in 1884, it was repaired two years ago and is under repair again, following an earthquake in 2010.)
|A granite version of Martin Luther King
|Martin Luther King, a granite version as Mao Tse-tung
|A side view of the 30-ft high statue
Instead, after walking through the gap, I was confronted with what looked like the missing chunk of rock, pushed forward to become the ‘stone of hope’ that King spoke of. I had to walk around the rock to see the man, and had to crane my neck when I got there. This is one tall statue — 30 feet high, compared with Jefferson and Lincoln’s 19 feet. He looks out over the water at the Jefferson Memorial, or, in the interpretation provided by the National Parks Service, towards the horizon and the future. But wherever he is looking, he doesn’t engage me, or with me.
|The Jefferson Memorial, as seen from the King Memorial
The other memorial I saw for the first time was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Again, my reactions were mixed. I thought the soldiers trooping through a tough juniper ground cover were quite effective. I liked their ghostly quality and their shadowy grey forms and their windblown ponchos, so suggestive of mud and nasty weather. They were too realistic for my taste but for the most part they were not depicted as heroic ideals but as real men slogging their way towards an unseen destination.
|The faces of soldiers are etched into a polished black granite wall,
reflecting visitors to the Memorial
|A waterless Pool of Remembrance,
with a sign (impossible to read in this photo)
telling people to stay out of the water.
|Pansies protect an entrance to the Department of Justice
|Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveller,
on Richmond’s Monument Avenue
So let me end with a question. To be moving, must a memorial involve movement? And does it always have to commemorate war and death?