Chapter 2- Memorials
The purpose of a memorial is to create a link between the present and the past. Memorials are built to commemorate a person, place or an event, they convey information, and remind us of something important. Memorials allow for reflection, healing, under-standing, and meditation. They acknowledge sacrifice, and they honor specific concepts which society holds to be an ideal. J. B. Jackson in The Necessity of Ruins says, “The monument, in short, is the guide to the future: just as it confers a kind of immortality on the dead, it determines our actions for years to come” (93). Memorials and sacred spaces provide a place for community ritual, and link the individual to the event and the community. Judith Wasserman in her article “To Trace the Shifting Sands: Community, Ritual, and the Memorial Landscape,” says… the memorial can reintroduce the sacred into open space. It provides traces and clues to cultural history that have become obscured within a culturally opaque society. …. In effect, they encode space, and enrich it with meaning (43).
Before World War I, the traditional forms for memorials were the column, the obelisk and the statue. After the war, in the 1920s, a new memorial type, the Living Memorial became popular.
Community leaders supported memorials that enhanced the life of the city by adding to the cities infrastructure. These Living Memorials took the form of memorial stadiums, bridges, arts centers, parkways, libraries and other public places designed and dedicated to national events or heroes.
Living memorials also included memorial tree plantings. Often communities planted memorial groves. This was common in Europe and the United States after both World Wars. One such grove is the Grove of Heroes, which was dedicated in San Francisco, California‘s Golden Gate Park, in 1919, to honor those lost in World War I. Memorial tree plantings to remember the war dead, called Roads of Remembrance occurred in many cities around the country, including Washington D.C. where three miles of memorial trees were planted on Sixteenth Street, Northwest. In Cleveland, Ohio thousands of oak trees were planted along a seven mile boulevard which ran from Lake Erie through neighboring towns (Robbins, 2003).
It is in this spirit, as well as the cultural associations of the grove, that the use of the grove to memorialize September 11th is embedded.
On September 9, 2002, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced $933,000 in federal grants to be awarded to establish Living Memorials to remember those lost on September 11, 2001. These grants would be made through the Living Memorials Project (LMP).
This initiative invokes the resonating power of trees to bring people together and create lasting, living memorials to the victims of terrorism, their families, communities, and the nation. Cost-share grants provided by the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry supported the design and development of community projects in the New York City metropolitan area, southwest Pennsylvania, and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In the Southern Area (Region 8), the Forest Service worked with officials from the Pentagon, American Forests and Arlington County on developing additional memorial sites (Living Memorial Project).
A grove is being included in the design for the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City. The award winning design Reflecting Absence, designed by Michael Arad, was modified to include a grove, designed by Peter Walker, FASLA. In a press statement they explained the inclusion of the maple grove by saying, “Through its annual cycle of rebirth, the living park extends and deepens the experience of the memorial” (Lower Manhattan Development Corporation).
For thousands of years the grove has possessed qualities which have made it sacred space. The Oxford Companion to Gardens defines a grove as a group of trees usually of a single species, either growing naturally or planted in formation. It is probably the oldest of all garden features, for it dates back to the time of primitive man in the forest. Tree cults arose from man’s sensitivity to the growth and death of trees and thus their similarity to his own life (Jellicoe, 238).
Trees have been the mythological connection between the earth and the sky, the sacred and man.
The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all viewed groves as sacred places. The earliest groves were discovered, not planned. In Greece, where wood was scarce, the grove became a holy place. The Greek gods were symbolized by particular trees – Apollo, the Laurel tree, Zeus, the Oak, and Athena the Olive tree. Trees were the first temples in Greece. They were hung with sacrificial objects, fruit, flowers, and bones. They were the earliest holy places.
Even after temples came into being, a sacred tree was part of the temple landscape (Hersey,11-13). The Romans depicted groves in fresco paintings on the walls of their homes. Groves were depicted as places of delight and as homes to the gods. Groves were also planted as part of tomb precincts, seen in the image of the Tomb of Augustus (Figure 3.2).
Table of Contents
List of Images
Chapter 1: Sacred Space
Chapter 2: Memorials
Chapter 3: The Grove
Chapter 4: The Site
Chapter 5: The Design
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