Sunday, September 25, 2011

Went to Boston this weekend

I went to the big city this past Saturday to see some live music, do some touristy gawking (mostly at other tourists), and to feel that life-energy you can only get walking down a sidewalk choking of people.  I will admit, we got lost on the way there, which only heightened the frantic beeline from the T to the Faneuil Hall restroom.  After regaining our wits we ambled like tourists throughout the city, first passing the Holocaust Memorial.

This blog post is due to the Memorial and how much of an impression it made on me this trip.  And I say "this trip" purposefully; I have walked by and through this Holocaust Memorial in trips past.  For some reason Saturday's encounter, combined with oppressive heat and cloudy skies, was more acute.  

Now about the design.  This is how the website describes it; 
"The Memorial features six luminous glass towers, each 54 feet high.
The towers are lit internally to gleam at night. They are set on a black
granite path, each one over a dark chamber which carries the name
of one of the principal Nazi death camps. ...Six million numbers are etched
in glass in an orderly pattern, suggesting the infamous tattooed numbers..."

What most struck me was the empty space.   There are six stories, or floors, of air there, encircled by glass columns.  And these columns have a total of six million numbers on them, this represents six million people.  And if you walk through the Memorial, you can only easily read the numbers on the ground floor.  Even if you could read the numbers on the five stories above, it is too much information to absorb. 

Metaphors are abundant at this memorial (whoever designed it is fantastic).  The ghostlike qualities of the numbers, the smoke from the grates below, the distance between you and the top row of the highest numbers, the six towers (which could also suggest a menorah of memorial candles), using numbers to represent people...

And underneath it all, we all are free, and living, and hopefully appreciating our lots in life.

Earlier that day I spent the carride trying to think up bumper stickers having to do with equality, so possibly my brain was already on the topic.  I already have a pretty killer one on my bumper: We are all in this together.  Others I thought up were Accept Differences, u=2me, We are equals, (and a somewhat longer one, you'd need a bumper bigger than a Smart Car) It takes no time or money to compliment others.  The designer in me wants a symbol though, and not one with hippie connotations such as a peace sign.  First try just for fun:

I'm getting at having a general base level of respect for others, for strangers.  But really, the whole carride down I couldn't think of the right word to describe it.  Acceptance can have negative connotations.  What's a good word to use when saying we're all on the same team?  Because focusing on differences, labeling others not like you, separating people because they're not your financial bracket, your skin tone, your level of formal education, is horrid.

Though I think the Holocaust Memorial is elegantly done, we don't need any more of them in the world.

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