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May 26, 2014

Memorializing our heroes: The Memory Keepers


How we remember our heroes is different, and personal, and important for each of us.

There are those who help us thru the terrible, trying times, and who help us thru the healing as our loved ones are never more than a memory away. They write never to be forgotten words, they write songs and poetry. They paint or take photographs that become touchstones of our deepest feelings, and they design exquisitely beautiful monuments. From where comes their inspiration, who or what touched their hearts?

The answers can only come from those creating and so here, the three Vietnam Memorials, and their inspiration.

Maya Lin, Architect: Vietnam Veterans Memorial - dedicated Nov. 13, 1982.

Names upon the black surface of the earth, the earth polished. Cause it's only when you accept the pain, it's only when you accept the death, can you then come away from it, can you then overcome it. And literally as you read a name, or touch a name, and the pain will come out, and I really did mean for people to cry. You have to accept that this pain occurred in order for it to be cathartic.

The portion of this video that deals with the Vietnam Memorial ends at 2:13.

Frederick Hart, Sculptor: Vietnam Veterans Memorial The Three Soldiers - dedicated on Veterans Day, 1984.

You are supposed to see three soldiers, but there are a lot of things I wanted you to feel as well. I want you to see that these are very young people. I want you to feel that they bore an excruciating burden.

I wanted to portray that shadow of mortality that crosses their faces thru their experiences of that combat situation, that thousand yard stare, that terrible nihilistic wound that was put upon them. One thing that was said that always touched me was one marine wrote me and said he had the sense that they were looking for their own names on the wall.

Glenna Goodacre, Sculptor: The Vietnam Women's Memorial - dedicated November 11, 1993. 265,000 women served during the Vietnam war, all of them volunteers. Approximately 11,000 American military women were stationed in Vietnam during the war. Close to ninety percent were nurses in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The emphasis of this tribute is centered on their emotions: their compassion, their anxiety, their fatigue, and above all, their dedication.

The photos from Vietnam often included stacks of sandbags. It seemed natural for a nurse - in a moment of crisis - to be supported by sandbags as she serves as the life support for a wounded soldier lying across her lap. The standing woman looks up, in search of a med-i-vac helicopter or, perhaps, in search of help from God.

The kneeling figure has been called "the heart and soul" of the piece because so many vets see themselves in her. She stares at an empty helmet, her posture reflecting her despair, frustrations, and all the horrors of war. The soldier's face is half-covered by a bandage, creating an anonymous figure with which veterans can identify. Even though he is wounded, he will live. I want this to be a monument for the living.

Posted by LadyR at May 26, 2014 8:02 AM

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