Build Your Memorial
Now that you are an expert on your humanitarian, your next task is to use that information to design and build a symbolic, public memorial to your person(s)/event. The five factors you must consider as you create this memorial are:
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There are many different ways to memorialize people and many different types of memorials. What type will yours be? Indoors? Outdoors? A building? A park? Memorialization includes gardens, statues, museums, flags, schools and even web pages. The type of memorial you select must be appropriate and have a connection to the person you are memorializing. It would not be appropriate to build a theme park to honor a person who died tragically, for example. Take a look at the gigantic memorial in progress to honor Sioux warrior Crazy Horse.
What do you think this Native American hero would say about the blasting away of his Sacred Black Hills to build this memorial? Why have some criticized this type of memorial as "too big, too boring and too BOMB-bastic!"? Was the choice appropriate?
The location of your memorial is as imporant as what type of memorial you choose to build. The site must be meaningful in some way to the person you are remembering. Some memorials, such as Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and your own, designate a site. However, you still have some choices to make: What considerations must you take into account to respect this site? Trees? Grade of the land? Both auto and pedestrian traffic? Who will see the front of the piece?
Also, you have the option to move your memorial as long as it stays on the property of Wellwood Middle School. You could move it to a different outdoor location or bring it indoors in one of the common areas or near a certain part of the school.
Honoring the site created a huge controversy for the planners of our national World War II Memorial. Many people were outraged that the structure obscured the famous view from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.
Another difference of opinion about site choice arose about placing the New England Holocaust Memorial in the middle of a busy thoroughfare in Boston. What were the pros and cons of choosing this location?
You will have to make a decision about the building materials you will use to construct your memorial. The type of memorial you are designing will help you narrow down your choices. If it is a statue, for example, will you use bronze, marble, granite or something else? If it is a park, will it have trees, flowers, a wildlife sanctuary or all three? Remember that building materials can be symbolic. You might select steel for a memorial to Andrew Carnegie, for example, to show his life's work and not just because it's a strong building material.
Now, enter and take a walk around the Hiroshima Peace Park. This area contains over sixty monuments, all remembering the victims of the US bombing of Japan in World War II. Note all of the different building materials used in the various memorials. Remember that stone is a very important building material in Japanese gardens as is water.
Now read the current controversy over the building of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Whose side do you take in the debate over the use of a Chinese sculptor and Chinese granite?
The designer chose many of the building materials from a famous MLK, Jr. speech in which the civil rights leader promised,"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." Take a tour of this newest DC memorial at http://www.mlkmemorial.org.
For your own memorial model you obviously won't use granite or bronze to actually build the 3D model, but you must consider what you would use if that did happen. You also don't have to smash your piggy bank and spend your hard earned pennies on supplies. For inspiration on how to use things lying around the house as creative building materials, check out Joan Steiner's Look-Alikes books in your school library. You will be amazed at what can be built with a match stick, some stale crackers or a few crayons. Just think! You can clean the house and find free memorial supplies at the same time!! In short, there is no need to raid the local craft store to make your memorial look great.
Symbols are very important parts of any memorial. A symbol is something tangible that stands for an idea. Symbols may be images, numbers, colors and even building materials. To use symbolism in your memorial, you need to make a list of what your person(s)/event stood for and find some way to visualize each of these things. Read about the choice of symbols used in the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
Take a walk around the FDR Memorial Park. What other symbols did the designer, Lawrence Halprin, use to represent this Great American? What did these symbols show about FDR?Just as with almost any other aspect of a memorial, the choice of symbols can be controversial. A controversy arose over whether or not to use FDR's wheel chair in his memorial. What are some arguments for and against adding this image to his memorial? What does it symbolize about him?
Words can also be an important addition to a memorial. The choice of words is a difficult but crucial decision. Every memorial has some words, explaining why the memorial was built. This is called a dedication. Check out two famous dedications to the Oklahoma City Memorial and the Korean Veterans' Memorial respectively:
"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity"
"Our nation honors the sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."
Additionally, quotes from or about your person(s)/event can help us understand what was lost or what their lives stood for. Some memorials demand the use of words more than others because of the person(s)/event being memorialized. Can you think of some memorials where words would play an especially crucial role?
Comments are welcome and may be directed to email@example.com. These pages ©Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District. All rights reserved. This page last modified on May 18, 2015.