Literacy and Liberty

Sons and Daughters of Dickinson
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today, I walked to Old West and found my self in the incredibly hot Memorial Hall.  I looked around and, quite frankly, was taken aback by the sparseness of the room at first glance.  I was standing in the middle of the room, sweating, wondering to myself why there were no grandiose statues of war heroes or important figures in history, something that comes to mind for me when I think of memorials.  I live close enough to D.C. that I can take a day trip every once in a while.  Having been there, I was used to seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the new MLK monument.  These memorials are what I think are the epitome of what remembrance should be: big and in your face.  However, as I scanned the room, I looked carefully at the plaques and realized their significance was not to be undermined.  The one I found most intriguing was the plaque memorializing the soldiers from Dickinson who fought in World War II.  “IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DICKINSON WHO SERVED IN THE ARMED SERVICES OF THE UNITES STATES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR,” it reads, followed by the names of those who served.  This plaque memorializes the people who went to Dickinson and gave their lives for their country.  It was quite profound reading all of the names of the men and women from Dickinson who served.  I realized that a memorials don’t need to be in your face to get their message across. I was concentrated more on the aesthetics rather than the meaning of the memorial itself.  A memorial is about focusing on the memory of something or someone and allows for those looking at and interacting with it to look back on history to better understand the impact of past actions.

5 Comments so far
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I can relate to your realization of memorial sizes do not undermine their meanings. Like the 9/11 memorial I visited, both are small and concise to get the point across that many people died in these events, and we have a duty to honor and respect their actions. Additionally, I find myself sometimes confused when I visit large memorials because there tends to be more than one central focus point. Therefore, it’s easier for me to recognize the significance of smaller memorials.

   Jacob DeCarli 10.03.18 @ 3:04 pm

I agree with your idea of what can make a memorial profound, or concise. Sometimes what is best understood is what is stated most clearly, and that is what it seems the memorial you described did. Simply listing all the names of those who served can bring about a realization of the gravity of the decision they made to serve their country, and the sacrifice they made, rather than an elaborate statue appealing more aesthetically than to the meaning of the statue itself.

   Reed Kearins 10.05.18 @ 12:05 am

I also visited here! Surprised I didn’t see you. I like how you said “memorials don’t need to be in your face to get their messages across.” This is so true. There is a level of beauty in that subtle mention of a name, because despite its simplicity, it entails so much meaning. In this sense, it entails an entire life behind a name.

   Jess 10.05.18 @ 2:10 pm

Your writing and emotion is so beautiful and profound here. I felt as though you transported to where you were and made me feel how you did. Memorials are very important to me as well because they pay tribute to those who deserved to be immortal in the thoughts of others.

   natasha 10.07.18 @ 2:50 pm

Ainslie, I’m so struck by how your remarks on the understated–and, I would add, respectfully understated–quality of the WWII in Old West resonated with your peers. Have you been to the national memorial to WWII in DC, by any chance? It’s among the most recent of the dedicated national memorials there, and the story of how it came to be is fascinating…

Do proofread!

   Professor Seiler 10.08.18 @ 2:00 pm

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