Wandering around London, I was struck by the size of its memorial: They are many but small, sprinkled through the life of the city. A memorial to women in World War II is in the middle of a road but with its bronze uniforms hanging on a stone wall, it speaks eloquently. Statues of heroes are lifesize.
Like everything else, we make our memorials big — too big, I think. When I went with my son on a class trip to Washington, we saw all the memorials and they are impressive (especially the new FDR memorial). But they are so big. It turns Washington into a city of death, almost.
Now New York is finally going to build its 9/11 memorial. But it has grown too big. It’s not the cost — which is now estimated at an incredible $1 billion. It’s the overpowering way this too-large memorial will be too big to be part of life. The NY Post called for shrinking the memorial sometime ago and I am coming to agree and even to wonder whether it should be at the site or elsewhere.