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Writing The Vietnam Memorial [E]


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[size=1]This was done for a school assignment on the Vietnam Memorial in DC -- here's the criteria for it:
- What is the general tone of the memorial?
- Is this memorial fitting?
- How do you think different audiences react to it and why? How is that reaction caused by the monument itself.
- What is the subject of the memorial?
- What do you think and feel?

Vague, I know. I also haven't finished it, but just critique me on what's here.[/size]
[CENTER]
[B]The Vietnam Memorial:[/B]
[I]The Scar of a Nation[/I][/CENTER]

[size=1]It was silent as I walked slowly down the vast wall, looking into the shadowy depths of my country?s history. Even to someone as far-removed from the conflict as myself, the sight was moving. 58,169 dead.

We are called to remember the sacrifice of those whose names appear on the wall. We are forced to confront the loss of life face to face, staring each name in the face and attempting to comprehend that each name is a lost life. We as civilians, however, are distanced from a veteran?s intimate relationship with the memorial. Where we as civilians see a SHERMAN LEE IVEY, a veteran would see his buddy who died in Quang Tri of multiple fragmentation wounds. A veteran would remember the story of how Lee, as he was called, would say the Lord?s Prayer before they went into combat, how he threw rocks at trees during down time, and how he hummed when marching. A veteran stares at Lee and sees his stories. I stare at Lee and see another name; this is the most fundamental difference between a civilian and a veteran. There is no way for a sixteen year old boy to grasp the gravity of SHERMAN LEE IVEY engraved in the Vietnam Memorial.

As I continued my procession along the wall, I tried to comprehend the fact that each name was a human. I tried to remember each man, tried to recall their faces and their habits and their stories. It was then I understood I could never fully grasp what was in front of me. The wall was full of stories that would never be told to a boy who could not digest the essence of Vietnam. ?Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember but the story? (O?Brien). I hope that the stories of the wall are remembered, for my memory is nonexistent. I cannot remember the stories of Ronald Fair, Edward Tarin, or Mark O?Brien. I cannot remember the faces of William James, Robert Lockett, or David Rodriguez. Their memory is carried within the black granite.[/size]
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[COLOR=Indigo]From what I read so far, what you have is deeply moving and flows nicely. It makes me want to grasp and take hold of every word you say . It draws me in. Keep it up. Continue to write the way you are writing and you'll have an awesome paper! -thumbs up-[/COLOR]
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[COLOR=#ff4403][SIZE=1]I've only just recently finished a (huge) essay on the Vietnam war, so this is quite interesting to me. As Japan said, it flows really nicely and I can see a lot of emotion has gone into it.

[QUOTE]As I continued my [B]procession[/B] along the wall[/QUOTE]

This is the one section that I don't like. 'Procession' gives the idea of a grand event, like a crowd of people going around. I'm not sure if that's the idea you were trying to convey, but I don't think that word fits very well. It seemed to break the flow for me. I think a simpler word would be much more fitting, personally. You don't have to use really complicated words to make a piece seem deep and emotional.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[size=1]Thanks for the replies - I really appreciate them.

I used 'procession' to try and get the melancholy connotation of a [I]funeral[/I] procession, as I usually see the word used.

Other than that, what does everyone think of the introductory paragraph? My mother said it was too flowery and weighed down the start. I guess it's a bit overly romantic, but I'm also unsure of what should go there in its place.[/size]
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[COLOR=DarkOliveGreen]I think you've done an excellent job as well. It flows nicely and draws you in. However like [B]Ezekiel[/B] I don't like this part either.[quote name='Retribution][size=1']As I continued my procession along the wall[/size][/quote]The reason I don't is although I have no connections with the Vietnam war, I have attended several funerals for loved ones. I guess since they are being remembered in a memorial It just seems more like a journey to understand what was lost instead of a procession. Which is what I feel like when I visit the graves of my loved ones every year. Like I'm stopping briefly to make sure I never forget what was lost. Though I guess that's more of how I would see it. ^_^ What you have works just fine. It's more of a matter of opinion on what word to use to help set the mood. ^_~[QUOTE=Retribution][size=1]Thanks for the replies - I really appreciate them.

I used 'procession' to try and get the melancholy connotation of a [I]funeral[/I] procession, as I usually see the word used.

Other than that, what does everyone think of the introductory paragraph? My mother said it was too flowery and weighed down the start. I guess it's a bit overly romantic, but I'm also unsure of what should go there in its place.[/size][/QUOTE]I actually don't agree with your mother. I think the way you have worded it sets the mood quite well. I certainly hope you post the rest when you are finished. [/COLOR]
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