by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

A parallel to Stephen Budiansky quoted here is the response of WWII veterans in the US.  There was no memorial in DC until somebody thought it a good idea in the 1990's.   Small towns had memorials to all of their war dead typically a remnant of the Civil War memorials.  Universities have a notable memorial to the WWII vets.  Almost to a campus Student Unions after WWII were built as Memorials to the dead comrades that soldiers had left behind.  Until remodeled recently the Memorial Union at the University of Arizona had a prominent plaque displaying all of the University's war dead by conflict.  This plaque was at the main entrance to the union.  As others have noted the "Greatest Generation"  sought to memorialize their dead family and friends by living a great life and building a great nation.  Would that our current times had such an intent?  I must imagine that the WTC dead would want a vibrant finance, trade and cultural center to rise form the ashes.  Which in many ways is what is being built at ground zero.  Memorials should not be sterile they should be filled with life, drama and laughter.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.