Loose Lips (10/4) has unleashed another attack on the District’s African-American Civil War Memorial, alleging it to be Frank Smith’s $2.6 million “boondoggle.” This is as unfair as it is untrue. The memorial is a dignified, spirited tribute to the many tens of thousands of African-Americans who volunteered to fight and—all too often—die to free slaves. And, while fighting, these troops were crucial to saving the Union for white folks, who at that time were often rioting against having to personally help the cause.
Other African-Americans helped save our bacon in other ways, often coming home to bigotry and brutality rather than honor.
These African-Americans are clearly worthy of the honor that this memorial offers them. If Loose Lips needs to attack a memorial, you should point her toward the Korean War Memorial, that sloppy pile down on the Mall, that untidy accumulation of sculpture, pond, flag, little suburban shrubs, banal inscriptions (“Freedom Is Never Free,” etc.), and shiny black granite that, in its clumsy incoherence, trivializes the terrible sacrifices that so many of our youth had to face. (For that matter, its using black granite was a concept stolen from the Vietnam Memorial, where black granite was employed with great nobility and strength.)
You might also want to advise Loose Lips that the feds had to pay millions of dollars just to fix the Korean War Memorial’s leaky pond, a price far exceeding the entire cost of what LL dismisses as Smith’s “boondoggle.”
Should those Lips ever pull themselves together, they could celebrate Frank Smith, a man who achieved what too many never tried, who honored those whom too many had forgotten.