Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vietnam War Memorial:

Carved out of the land in triangular cut, following downward gradient flat polished black marble panels begin slightly the slow descent, one chiseled name becomes two, becomes three, five, eight, thirteen, twenty-one, thirty-four in exponential growth hundreds, thousands and still increasing. The black marble extends down further into the earth until soon countless columns of names reach over head height and we are down in the ground with the dead, grappling with an incalculable multitude of the fallen. Dizzy with dread looking ahead at the too slowly rising incline longing to escape, footsteps, confusion weary, slowly strain for emergence from an insufficient realisation of the scale of unimaginable suffering and loss. Dull shock affected and gasping for some air of understanding as deceased numbers decrease, one is left with bitter sensations and difficult questions of what has been done with the sacrifice of these so many gone souls?

And what of the opposing dead? What of the civilian men, women and children? Can we quantify the measure of the wake of human anguish and grief?

Small groups of visitors photograph names of lost kin; paper roses, stars and stripes, silent in the symbol of sufferings we may hope never even to imagine.

Squirrels scour and flip dry leaves and Washington memorial pierces the sky.

Images: Peace Vigil @ The Whitehouse

Washington Memorial

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