Psychology of Memorialization
Famous People Memorialized
Small Town Memorials
The Last Wish
Memorializing a Veteran
Famous Memorial Buildings
How to Cope with the Death of a Pet
Preserving the Legacy of a Hero
Seeing that their military veterans are properly memorialized is something that the people and government of the United States have been passionate about for as long as the country has existed. The American countryside is filled with monuments, museums and other memorials on the sites of even obscure battles in the nation’s history, and famous war leaders – such as General George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas McArthur Dwight Eisenhower, and even Sam Houston are memorialized with statues and buildings across the nation.
Given this penchant for remembering military veterans, it seems reasonable to expect that the most recent wars will certainly garner similar honors in the coming years. Memorials to the veterans of the United State’s Persian Gulf War in 1991 are already sprouting up, and, surely, the nation will eventually see a groundswell of memorializing for the later conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq – the later two of which are now rivaling Vietnam as the longest-lasting war in American history.
Historically speaking major memorials to veterans begin coming about within 10- 15 years of a war’s resolution, and they continue to spring up for decades. World War II, for example, was ended in 1942, and the first large-scale memorials began being resurrected in the early-mid 1950’s when American cities began building stadiums, highways, and other elaborate public structures in honor of that war’s memorials. And, as late as 2004, a large national memorial to World War II veterans was finally unveiled in Washington, D.C.
Similarly, the Vietnam War was memorialized with the famous “Memorial Wall” in Washington D.C. in 1982, less than a decade after the war ended, and, as of this writing, (on the wall’s 25th anniversary) a large addition is now being planned. In 2010, Washington D.C. planners expect to open the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center on the grounds of the Memorial Wall. The new, mostly underground, museum will feature a huge array of exhibits designed to pay tribute to the men and women who are memorialized on the wall itself. Among other things, the new center will exhibit more than 100,000 items that visitors have left at the wall in tribute to their lost friends and loved-ones.
The idea behind this latest Vietnam memorial was, perhaps, inspired by the Vietnam Memorial Museum that opened in the 1990’s near Ft. Worth, Texas. That museum plays host to hundreds of exhibits such as the famously mysterious “The Night Has Eyes” painting done by an anonymous artist known only as “R.W.”
And that museum perhaps inspired another Texas war memorial project: Organizers near Houston, Texas are planning to open the 35-acre Veterans Museum in Texas sometime around the time the Vietnam visitor’s center is complete. This museum will set itself apart from almost all other memorial museums in that it will be open to exhibits from all wars involving U.S. troops. Most other memorials in the United States focus directly on a particular conflict or battle.