Thursday, May 25, 2023

Memorials worldwide honor victims, heroes, urging us to remember

A sculpture to world peace frames Cookie and Keller at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Honolulu, home to the often photographed USS Arizona Memorial. The Tree of Life sculpture is a relief, a symbol of renewal created by Arizona Memorial architect Alfred Preis to inspire contemplation.



Photos of victims of the Holocaust leave the viewer 
numb at Yad Vashem in Israel. This is the ceiling memorial
to those who perished in Nazi concentration camps. 

Christene "Cookie" Meyers in the Bruce Meyers Poet's
Garden on the campus of MSU-Billings in Montana.
It honors her late writing teacher husband, Bruce Meyers.
WHEREVER IN the world we go, we never miss an opportunity to visit a memorial. War, loss, suffering, heroism and sacrifice are universal themes.
So is the need to honor the fallen, those we loved, those who have suffered loss.

Nearly every village in Europe has a memorial to the victims of World War I. War memorials are found on every continent, in metropolitan areas and remote villages alike.

These -- and other memorials --  illustrate the emotional power of architecture. From Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial to New York's 9-11 homage and the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Atlanta, these tributes stir strong reactions as iconic pieces of art and architecture. Often they are destinations for locals and travelers alike. The moving memorial to victims of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, attracts thousands of visitors each year, as does the striking tribute to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan,
pays respect to those killed by the bomb
ending World War II but at a huge cost.

I HAVE personal experience with memorials, having designed one myself to honor my late husband, a poetry and creative writing professor for 25 years at a Montana university.
That memorial reminds me, and others, of his gifts to hundreds of students. It provides a quiet place on campus for students and professors to meditate, write, reflect.
Other memorials remind us of the cruelty of man, of senseless death, heroes and selfless deeds, the hope that peace will prevail in our muddled world. Especially now with the devastation in Ukraine, and in our country, the immigration controversy, it seems appropriate to study memorials and the hope they give us for a better life.

A young Japanese man studies the sad story of the
internment of thousands of innocent Japanese
Americans at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.
 Many soldiers of Japanese descent served
as translators, helping shorten the war.
THE MOOD around memorials is always quiet and respectful. Whether in New York at the site of the World Trade Center destruction of "9/11," Yad Vashem in Israel, or Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, memorials seem to calm people, to draw them inward to private thoughts. In Honolulu, at the Arizona Memorial, we joined an international queue with fellow tour members, including a Japanese couple our age from Tokyo.  It was interesting to travel with them, and glean their take on the memorial.  For while the U.S. suffered grievous losses, Japan suffered destruction of two cities. Americans of Japanese descent suffered loss and humiliation in the internment camps. One is in Wyoming, not far from where I grew up in south-central Montana.

 The striking White Monument at Tell Banat, Aleppo
 Governorate, Syria, dates from the third millennium BC,
and honors fighters from  state army.

World Trade Center in New York with its
 extraordinary museum remembers the
 terrorism attack of September 11,
2001 and honors its victims.

Yes, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor but 6,000 Japanese Americans served as translators and interpreters with the Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific, using the language of their parents and grandparents to shorten the war and save lives. So it's complicated. 

WE LEARN through memorials of the misguided effects of war and violence, hatred and prejudice. Ironies and sorrow go hand in hand with war and terrorism. Brothers wiped out, serving on the same ship. Husbands and wives perishing together in a jump from a burning tower. Entire families destroyed by an act of violence. 

Anne Frank's family lived in
an annex during the occupation
of Amsterdam. The pictures she
 clipped and saved are preserved.

Campus memorial honors beloved professor

Crete memorial honors fallen in crucial battle

What always strikes us about a memorial visit is the quiet.   People move silently about the exhibits, touched and often emotional about their experience and expressing their reverence as they pay their respects.

So let this week be one of remembrance, meditation, hope and thanks. 

Reveling in applause after a fabulous dance
 number are 3 of the leads in a terrific cast: L-R:
 Xavier J. Bush, Emma Nossal, Anthony Michael
Vacio, gifted "triple threat" dancers-actors-
singers.  Dazzling dance in a fun, feel good show.

Sheer unadulterated joy awaits the audience in New Village Arts' smashing production of 
of "Singin' in the Rain"  The hit musical has more energy than a barrel of Red Bull as it plays to sell-out crowds in this perfect, intimate venue. The story of a silent movie star and his jealous, tone-deaf partner making the transition to the talkies is a perfect antidote to "May Gray" or "June Gloom." Revel in terrific tap dancing by dashing leading man Don Lockwood, his nimble sidekick Cosmo and a thoroughly adorable chorus girl Kathy (with a voice like a nightingale.) Audrey Ward plays a delightfully off-key Lina Lamont, the fading silent star, and the expert ensemble dances, sings and clowns its way through two-and-one-half hours of musical theater bliss. A.J. Knox directs the beloved classic with some of the sharpest choreography San Diego hoofers have ever delivered. An absolute delight to the clever curtain call. The run ends July 2 with a fun Italian dinner-or-lunch and show package option at Via Vai Cucina. 760) 284-4393

Gay Pride is celebrated all year in Sydney, Australia, with posters, 
banners, concerts and special events including the city's famed
Sydney Opera House. June has many special events.
UP NEXT: Gay Pride month is in June, a celebration of a tradition begun in 1970, a year after the Stonewall Inn Riots took place, as a peaceful march with no dress restrictions where people could express themselves and their sexuality freely. There have been peaceful marches, protests and celebrations every year since and Pride Month is joyously celebrated in Australia and worldwide. The month is dedicated to commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride. Pride Month began after the Stonewall riots of New York. A series of gay liberation protests began in 1969, and the movement has since spread enthusiastically outside of the United States. We witnessed the enthusiasm on our recent trip to Australia and share insights and photos. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on nature, performance, travel, family and the arts.



  1. Maine Memorial BuffsMay 27, 2023 at 11:53 AM

    We agree on the importance of honoring past deeds, heroic or horrible, and learning from them.

  2. You hit some of the great ones. We want to see the one in Syria.

  3. Touching roundup of memorable memorials. Thanks.

  4. Vietnam Vet and ProudJune 1, 2023 at 9:23 AM

    Thank you for this eloquent piece.