Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five New National Memorials

There are only 30 National Memorials in the United States, and while many are iconic (The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial), a great many you've probably never heard of. You may not know Chamizal, Arkansas Post, or Fort Caroline. Here are my suggestions for five more:

1.      Twin Towers National Memorial, New York City, New York

I suspect this will become a National Memorial fairly soon. 2,977 innocent people lost their lives on the morning of September 11, 2001. The two reflecting pools that stand in the footprints of the original tower should serve as a dedication.

2.      Galveston National Memorial, Galveston, Texas

We had to learn about this 1900 disaster in school, it was so important. It remains, with somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 fatalities the worst natural disaster not only in the United States, but all of North America. Reports of 500 dead to McKinley were thought to be exaggerations at the time. The current memorial could be expanded.

3.      National AIDS Memorial Grove, San Francisco, California

The AIDs epidemic of the 70s and 80s claimed the lives of tens of thousands. The Federal Government moved far too slowly to respond to this disaster, and many innocent lives were lost while Americans died due to stigma. This grove, in Golden Gate Park, should be elevated to a nationally recognized memorial.

4.      Wounded Knee Native Peoples National Memorial, Wounded Knee, South Dakota

In 1973 two Native Americans were killed in the Wounded Knee Incident, the most recent fatalities of the United States government against the continent’s native peoples. Nearly a hundred year before, at the outset of the reservation era, over 200 were killed in the last official massacre of Native Americans. The site should serve as a memorial to the countless hundreds of thousands who died as a consequence of America’s policies. Some form of proper memorial should be created.

5.      National Slavery and Colonization Memorial, Historic Jamestowne, Virginia

More than half a million (estimates suggest approximately 597,000) black Africans were brought to the United States as slaves. Slavery cost many their lives, and is as tragic, really more so, than Vietnam, WWI, WWII, or Korea. Not to mention those untold thousands who did not survive the voyage. As such, Jamestown Virginia, where the first 19 slaves were on what would be American soil, would be the appropriate location, to memorialize the tragedy of slavery on the continent, as well as the continent's colonization. More emphasis on America's incipient slavery should be provided at the current site.

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