When examining the Vietnam memorial for ideotechnic function, we can contrast it to the other major memorials in Washington and Philadelphia. The nearby Lincoln memorial

is an example of a "shrine" to a famous hero of the United States. The memorial for Vietnam does not share the same happy hero-worship that the other big national monuments have. For some, the wall is a place to remember (or mourn) a friend or relative. For others, like myself, it is a place to reconsider the times and choices that our nation endured during those trying years. Absent from among the tourists are emotions of pride and inspiration, such as might be felt under the wise gaze of a giant Abraham Lincoln. This memorial is not like the others because the Vietnam war was unlike any prior event in our history. As the nation struggles to make sense of a senseless time, we need a somber reminder, in the form of the wall, to eternalize in granite the human cost of an unpopular, unsupported war.

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