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Author Topic: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial  (Read 9829 times)

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DCGirl

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Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« on: July 02, 2016, 06:54:25 PM »
The Washington Post has an article this weekend about whether it's disrespectful to wade in the fountain at the WWII memorial here in DC.  I'm a sixth generation residents of the Washington metropolitan area, and I've come to accept that tourists are a fact of life here.  In many ways, they occasionally serve to remind me, when I'm rushing to work, that I'm fortunate to live in a place that people dream of visiting.  But, there are times that tourist behavior goes too far.  I'm particularly reminded of the high school tour group that took pictures of my grandmother's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery as though all those people dressed in black were like the costumed re-enactors at Colonial Williamsburg.  We could hear the cameras clicking (this was before smartphones).

So, what do you all think?  Is it ok to wade in the fountains, despite signs saying not to?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/at-wwii-memorial-a-complicated-question-to-wade-or-not-to-wade/2016/07/02/fdc74312-3e0a-11e6-a66f-aa6c1883b6b1_story.html

sidi-ji

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2016, 07:05:56 PM »
 The fact that people persist In doing  dumb things does not make it "okay".

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2016, 07:07:33 PM »
IMO if there are signs saying not to, then it's inappropriate.  It doesn't matter what the fountain is there for (decoration, an art piece, as a memorial, whatever) If there's a sign forbidding it, then it's not appropriate.

Our Legislature grounds have fountains that are a popular place for locals and tourists alike as they cover a huge area and are totally open for people to play in, with the exception of one large one that is roped off and has signs saying to please not swim in it.  I've yet to go down there for an afternoon and NOT see security guards shooing people out of the forbidden fountain and it makes me nuts.  You can swim in literally EVERY OTHER FOUNTAIN on the grounds except that one, and you just can't accept that?  Sheesh.
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magicdomino

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2016, 07:20:16 PM »
I can sympathize with the tourists.  It's a hot, miserable D.C. afternoon, there's very little shade, you've been walking all day, your feet are burning, and there is all that beautiful cool water.  There is even a ledge around under the water, just the right height to make a step.  It would be hard to resist.  Before the World War II memorial was built, tourists used to wade in the Reflecting Pool for the same reason.

But my first thought when I read that article was that the water isn't treated.  The fountain pumps have filters (which is why the water is a lot cleaner than the Reflecting Pool -- that thing could get filthy), but there isn't any chlorine or salt to kill germs.  There might be chemicals to kill algae, though.  An alternate fountain for wading sounds like a good idea -- until I read GreenEyedHawk's post.   :)

I like the quote from James Panzetta:

Quote
Seeing people dipping their feet into the water and wading in the pool takes away from the memorial, he said, “but most of these people don’t even remember the war.” For him, it is better that visitors come and wade than to stay away and forget.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2016, 07:48:48 PM »
IMO if there are signs saying not to, then it's inappropriate.  It doesn't matter what the fountain is there for (decoration, an art piece, as a memorial, whatever) If there's a sign forbidding it, then it's not appropriate.


POD to this.  I've been a tourist in a lot of muggy, hot places in the summer; it can be miserable, especially if you misjudged how much walking you were going to be doing!  To me, that doesn't mean you have the right to plonk your feet somewhere that's been posted as off limits.  I also agree with one of the comments on the Washington Post article - with all those jets of water, taking a wrong step could cause major problems for both the fountain and your foot!

ladyknight1

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2016, 10:07:47 PM »
We have similar issues with people sitting on gravestones and memorial statues in cemeteries and memorial parks here. Respect is important.
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darkprincess

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2016, 12:14:09 AM »
I think it's rude to break the posted rules. If the sign says no wading it would be rude to wade.

My father is buried at a National Cemetery so I understand the frustration of mourning at a place that is also a tourist attraction. It is one of the negatives I knew we would face. I have seen several well meaning volunteers forget that they were at a cemetary. I believe the rude behavior at a cemetary is worse than the rude behaviour at a memorial due to the presence of remains.

My place of business is a tourist attraction. The location is not a entertainment attraction it is several different working offices. Their are guided tours throughout the day and I feel for the tour guides who are attempting to give a tour while keeping their groups out if our way. During slow times we will do our best to get out of the way of photos etc, but during our busy season we don't even try. We walk down the hallway as required without stopping or even slowing, security has to regularly clear staircases so there is room to use them. I just see humor in the situation now.

If the location is public then these sorts of things will have to be dealt with. Personally I prefer memorials that recognize the public will interact. I have seen memorials made this way and I think it gives the memorials a better chance of visitors understanding their purpose.

MariaE

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2016, 12:28:03 AM »
I was there in August 2014 but don't remember seeing any signs, so I can understand if some people missed them.

I was desperately tempted (not to go wading - that seems inappropriate no matter what, as it changes the 'look' of the fountain - just to sit on the edge and cool off). It was boiling hot (and I'm from a country where we literally never have temps in the triple digits. 97F is the highest ever recorded), the water looked cool and inviting... but I didn't. It seemed disrespectful (I did splash some on my hands and arms though). Had I seen the signs, I wouldn't even have considered it, because I completely agree with above posters - going against stated rules is rude. Regardless of whether or not I'd find it inappropriate on its own.
 
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kherbert05

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2016, 01:19:43 AM »
It is disrespectful. People should know the difference between a fountain at a memorial and one of the ones they build that double as a kind of splash pad. This type of behavior would not be tolerated at Arlington (especially during the changing the guard) or the Vietnam Memorial. I saw a group of HS kids escorted from the Vietnam Memorial for bad behavior.* I don't want to think what would happen if they had been behaving this way at Arlington (I have visions of lightening striking them dead out of a blue sky. Dad was a former Marine, we were briefed on the only acceptable behavior before we went and just knew if we put a hair wrong we would be struck down. I see no reason that the appropriate authorities can't tell these people to leave, and if they don't slap on the cuffs.


*Truth be told I saw them escorted from several locations (each day they were wearing a different shirt with the name of the group/HS on it) and called a guard on them myself. We were in the Air and Space Museum. There was a line to walk through one of the models that went down about 5 steps. They told us to get out of their way. And tried to shove past the line. They knocked a woman who was using a cane and a 4 or 5 yo child down the stairs. Other people caught them. I put myself between the teens and the others and Yelled GUARD. One came running. They told the teens they could either walk to the security office where several others from their group were already being held while their "adults"  were found because they were banned or they could be arrested. As my "Revenge" I wrote a letter praising the behavior of a group of 5th going into 6th graders that I kept running into to that school's school board. Those kids were some of the most respectful, polite kids I've ever seen on a field trip.
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sammycat

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2016, 01:35:28 AM »
If a sign says 'no swimming' , or 'stay out of the water', then that's exactly what it means - do not enter the water.  The reason for the water and/or the rule is irrelevant - just follow the rule/s.  I fail to see why people don't understand that.  Maybe they think they're special and the rules don't apply to them. (Newsflash: no one's that special).

I've been to plenty of places, both as a tourist and a local, on extremely hot days and it wouldn't even occur to me to enter the water if there was a sign saying to keep out.

Sharnita

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2016, 05:12:47 AM »
If I recall, there are lights in the fountain. What do people do if they slip and fall or break a light and cut themselves?

It seems rude but also stupid, destructive, and dangerous.

Mustard

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2016, 05:44:32 AM »
No means no.
Slight threadjack; on Thursday it was 100 years since Britain's bloodiest day of war, the battle of the Somme.  There were commemorations taking place all over the country, but none more powerful than a piece of performance art that happened unannounced at railway stations, war memorials and the like.  Small groups of young men appeared in First World War uniforms and sat on benches, walked about, travelled on trains etc, silently.  If approached, they handed the enquirer a card with details of the man they represented, lost in the war.  Wonderful.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jul/01/wearehere-battle-somme-tribute-acted-out-across-britain

guihong

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2016, 07:04:32 AM »
No means no.
Slight threadjack; on Thursday it was 100 years since Britain's bloodiest day of war, the battle of the Somme.  There were commemorations taking place all over the country, but none more powerful than a piece of performance art that happened unannounced at railway stations, war memorials and the like.  Small groups of young men appeared in First World War uniforms and sat on benches, walked about, travelled on trains etc, silently.  If approached, they handed the enquirer a card with details of the man they represented, lost in the war.  Wonderful.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/jul/01/wearehere-battle-somme-tribute-acted-out-across-britain

That was very moving and original.  My American great-uncle went and came back, but I think we forget there were nearly four years of war beforehand. 



guihong

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2016, 07:07:41 AM »
As for the fountains, I contrast Centennial Park in Atlanta with the sprays where you're welcome to run around, or the fountain in my own city which is meant for kids, with a reflecting pool that is part of a monument or memorial.  The latter is not meant to be a playground.



Thipu1

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2016, 09:57:21 AM »
When the museum for which I worked underwent a major renovation, a 'water feature' was installed.  It was designed by the same firm that built the fountains at Bellagio in Las Vegas and was a smaller version of the choreographed display.  The thing has a smooth marble floor with lights below.  Some of the jets go up at least 30 or 40 feet with considerable power.  They were certainly  strong enough to knock over a small child.

It was obviously not a safe place for anyone to play but, almost every day, security had to fish out children whose parents thought the fountain was provided as a play place for toddlers.

You have to wonder how the minds of some people work.