I was a child in the sixties.
Though much time has passed, on occasion I’m reminded of how those years shaped me, how deep the feelings go and how they call out to be healed.
Back in late 1987, while participating in the Gay March on Washington, I first saw the Vietnam Veterans Memorial designed by Maya Lin. Years earlier, her radical design approach and racial heritage had been the stuff of much discussion and controversy. Having lost family members in the war, further lodged the memorial into my mind. It was a place I had to visit.
That day, when faced with the black, reflective wall of names, all of those arguments and nonsense vanished in light of what became the most effectively moving aesthetic experience of my life.
I just couldn’t stop crying.
Now decades later, more memories of the sixties, another radical design, more controversy surrounding the artist and concerns about what was actually said, or wasn’t, and whether the inscriptions fully convey their intended meanings. It was a place I had to visit.
And when I arrived, absorbed the components of stone, site and idea,
I cried like before.