Why Do We Commemorate And Who Does It Serve?
The violence in Charlottesville last month over whether or not to remove a statue of Confederate soldier Robert E. Lee rekindled a heated debate that's more about national identity and race than about statues. But, it's easier to fight about statues than begin a long-overdue national discussion over how we remember our collective and complex national past - especially in the context of slavery.
Maya Lin's 1981 Vietnam Veterans Memorial was hotly contested for its abstract design and because it broke the unspoken rules about how we remember war. Despite the initial controversy, it is today the most visited and revered memorial in the nation.
Lastly, Coltsville National Historical Park will soon be Harford's tribute to Samuel Colt, a prosperous and pioneering industrialist - who also manufactured and peddled guns to both the North and the South during the Civil War.
- Kirk Savage - Professor of the history of art and architecture at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America and Monument Wars: Washington, DC, the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape
- Kristin Hass - Professor of American Studies at the University of Michigan and the author of Carried to the Wall: American Memory and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Sacrificing Soldiers on the National Mall
- Stephen Thornton - Creator of Shoeleather History Project, a former union organizer and the author of the upcoming book Wicked Hartford
- James Woolsey - Superintendent, Coltsville National Historical Park and Springfield Armory National Historic Site for the National Park Service
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.