There are so countless ways to
memorialize a well-respected person or important event. A person or group of
people can design a monument or memorial to honor a special person or an event.
A monument, through careful contemplation of its location, size, material, and
purpose, can adequately pay tribute to a deep sacrifice or celebrate moments of
When a group or agency first
contemplates memorializing an event or person through a monument, they should
consider location. The location of a memorial or monument can either add to or
take away from its beauty and meaning. A beautiful scenery or a place where the
person held close to his or her heart can raise the significance of the
monument. A memorial of Martin Luther King Jr., The King Center, located in
Atlanta, Georgia. Strolling through this beautiful building on a nice summer
afternoon makes one remember the important role Mr. King had in American
history. If his museum were located in an old run-down neighborhood, the people
would not consider his importance as beautiful and motivating. When
contemplating where to build a museum to commemorate the Holocaust, the people
had to think about what to include in the memorial such as, size and location, with
the plans of a Holocaust museum being built into a Mall in Washington, D.C.
(Source E). When considering building a monument it is important to consider
the location in order to appropriately memorialize an event or person.
Once a location has been decided, the
size and material needed for the monument must be prearranged. The size of the
monument or museum is important to guarantee that the person or event being memorialized
gets the respectable amount of remembrance. After the decision to build a
Holocaust Museum in the Mall in Washington, D.C. was made, protesters began considering
that the design plan was too huge (Source E). The objective of the museum was
to remember the Holocaust, “not to overpower the Mall or its visitors” (Source
E). By downsizing the museum, they were able to create a place of honor without
suppressing the other memorials and monuments in the Mall.
The material of a monument can also
help support the right sense of significance. A variation of styles and designs, from marble and
bronze statues to headstones and tombs to walls and even chairs, have been
incorporated in memorials. The use of water, mirrors, and other physical
materials and surfaces have also helped memorials to become places of reflection.
Similarly, the design of memorials, which sometimes includes a space set aside
for family members and mourners, serves to comfort the grieving as well as to
educate visitors. When designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington,
D.C., Maya Lin put much thought into the material of the monument. She chose
“black granite in order to make the surface reflective and peaceful” (Source
G). The mirroring effect of the Granite assisted in creating a world of reality
and a world of reflection. The material and size of a memorial can critically
change the feeling of respect and its effect on those paying tribute to an
event or person.
Furthermore, when considering a
memorializing an event or person and in creating a monument, the message a
group or agency is trying to depict through the monument should be considered.
When designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Maya Lin decided to create a wall
of names cut into the ground. It was important to commemorate those who lost
their lives in Vietnam
and she felt the best way to remember everything about each individual person
was engraving their name into a wall. This allows people to remember everything
about the person rather that one instance, as a picture does (Source G). When creating
the monument for Crazy Horse, the sculptors decided to have him “pointing out
over his beloved Black Hills” (Source C). This commemorates the great achievements
Crazy Horse had in the Black Hills while honoring his love for them (Source C).
The message a monument exhibits is very important in the remembrance of that
person or event. When designing a monument to commemorate a person or
significant event, the location, size, material, and purpose of the monument
should be considered.