“The best of recent memorials — Maya Lin’s perfect Vietnam War memorial — transcends the bitter divisions over that terrible sacrifice of lives, and unites us all in common sorrow, reverence, and gratitude for these honored dead. Yet even that work of art and memory had to be cluttered at the edges with some needless statuary and a little flagpole or two.”
This tells me all I need to know about Greenberg’s taste and politics. Not one veteran of any way—never mind Vietnam, not one active military serviceran served on the selection panel for the Vietnam Memorial. The black tombstone now half-buried in the mall, listing those it was meant to memorialize in chronological death-order, minus military service identity and honors was the Left’s meaning-packed exclamation point after a war it, not those it memorializes, lost. Thank God and less sophisticated voices than Greenberg’s that the statues were added to remind us of the heroism and patriotism of those whose deaths ultimately led to the fall of another wall.
I think you’re missing the point about Maya Lin’s Memorial Wall, which was perfect ( I believe this too, and I was in the military during Vietnam) in every way, regardless of whether you were pro-War or Anti-War.This can be argued, of course,and I don’t know much about the “politics” behind the screening process, but it was a design competition for architects. Whatever “input” you’re craving from Vietnam Vets or their organizations was most likely already pre-empted by the competing designs from other competitors: indeed, the Wall was just profiled on 60 Minutes and they showed one absolutely ridiculous design of a gigantic Army helmet with a long chain extending from it, and ending in a dog-tag. Perhaps you’d be surprised to learn after all these years to find out just how perfect and appropriate Lin’s design is in the eyes of veterans and their families, who have come to honor it and their fallen . I went there about 15 years ago, and searched every name I could remember from Basic Training in 1966 at Ft. Polk, and could find not a single name from my Company. I left in tears.