Monday, May 26, 2014

Not-So-Great Wars and Modern Memory

Arlington West Santa Monica - February 17, 2013
From my piece:

Beside and beneath the fun and folly of the Santa Monica Pier lies a graveyard with no graves. While Arlington National Cemetery is a place of mourning, a place where Americans go to pay their respects, it is most importantly a place set off from the rest of America. “Arlington West” is not-so-conveniently out of the way, requiring a Metro trip and a long walk through hallowed grounds, but is instead on the beach, requiring that one at the very least walk around it while trying to enjoy what the Santa Monica Pier has to offer. 

The shadows of the fallen are in the shadows of frivolity. A visitor to the Santa Monica Pier on a Sunday can try to ignore the veterans both present and represented, but to do so requires that one has already become aware of it, that a day of fun for the family has already become tinged with a reminder of all the days lost for the fallen. It would come as no surprise therefore if those who happen upon “Arlington West” would not only try to ignore it, but would resent it, wishing that it was somewhere else, somewhere where it belonged, somewhere like a Metro stop in Arlington, VA.

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