The National Mall's Monumental Mess

The recently dedicated MLK Memorial and the planned Eisenhower Memorial, in their designers' efforts to break from a classical idiom, reflect a failure to appreciate not only the heritage and history of the National Mall but also the origins of the very idea of the "monument."  As a result they confuse their audience and distract from the memory of the men they seek to honor.  Luckily, there is still time for the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to go back to the drawing board. Last week, the Martin Luther King Memorial was dedicated near the National Mall in Washington, on an axis between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.  Dr. King is the first civil leader and the first African-American to be honored in this way.  And (Jackie Kennedy's recently revealed criticism of King notwithstanding) he surely merits this profound honor.  Indeed, both the honorand and the setting call for a monument which ranks among the greatest memorials of the Mall. But...(Read Full Article)