It was around the time of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, that memorials stopped being remembrances of virtue, and became therapy sessions. The old statues of determined men gave way to empty spaces to represent loss. Their lessons of courage and sacrifice, were replaced by architecture as therapy session, clean geometrical shapes, reflective pools and open areas in which to feel grief at what was lost and then let go of it.
September 11 memorials have inevitably followed this same pattern, empty spaces, still pools of water groves and names tastefully inscribed in row after row. How do you tell the Ground Zero memorial from the Oklahoma City memorial? The Oklahoma City memorial has one reflecting pool and the September 11 memorial has two pools.
There is no larger meaning to these memorials and there isn’t supposed to be one. A hundred years from now they will be nothing more than giant pools surrounded by trees with nothing to say. These new memorials are not about teaching us to remember… but about helping us to forget.
by Daniel Greenfield