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Field Trip

The Scholars and their teachers took a field trip after lunch today. We first visited the Air and Space Museum, which was pretty crowded today. Given the crowds and the nature of this trip, I decided to stay in the World War II portions of the museum. I'm a little bummed that the World War II exhibit hasn't been updated in some time. Still, it provided a pretty good photo opportunity for the group.

Photo taken from the balcony.

The intended shot, with a mural of a B-17 in the background. One Scholar in the group is studying an airman who was a tail gunner on a B-17. 
We next visited the World War II memorial which one can find between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. Lynne provided an overview of the memorial's construction, explaining the reason behind its sunken design, reminding the students of appropriate decorum at the Memorial, and discussing the meaning behind the columns and wall of stars on the opposite end. She also challenged us to look at the Memorial with a few questions in mind.

First, how does the structure affect its message?

Bas relief panels tell a chronological story of the war experience. This panel has more meaning for me now given how and where Bill died. 
Prominent battles are memorialized along the sides of the memorial. 
Columns honor the contributions and sacrifice of the 48 states and eight territories in the war. 
A wall of stars memorializes the more than 400,000 men and women who died in service of the country. 
Does the monument do justice to the event?

The wall of stars comes close to doing this for me. I love the iconography of the Gold Stars. Yet having each Gold Star represent 100 lost lives seems to be an inadequate representation. I don't know how they could have created a display with 100 times as many stars, but that might have seemed more noteworthy. Perhaps a Gold Star for each battlefield overseas. 

I'm glad to see the battle at which my grandfather was wounded memorialized here. Still, I wonder how many engagements are overlooked by the design. 
Is there anything you would change?

The panels. Make them bigger and more explicitly linked to photographs from the war. 
I anticipated a group shot at the memorial but that didn't happen. That's okay. It was very hot and crowded . . . a Sunday in June in D.C. And we'll get more chances for photos as we move through the next week.


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