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Author Topic: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial  (Read 9715 times)

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tabitha

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2016, 10:28:49 AM »
I would never touch the water in a city fountain because there is no way it will be hygienic.  But, unless there is more than one of those stone podium type things where one can read what the memorial is for then foreigners who approach from the other side may not know what the memorial is for or the level of importance.

Tourist aren't always going to be in America for war memorials, and may not be knowledgable about American history.  Or even the style of memorials.  I was in DC once, to visit friends, besides the famous Lincoln memorial, the only thing I remember is the statue of Albert Einstein. 

Where I'm from, most of our memorials are statues which people are often climbing all over and taking pictures at, even the ones of soldiers, I've never seen it as disrespectful.  But we have a lot of authors and philosophers as well.  There is one statue of an author who used to hang out with Hemingway, his statue is of him walking his dog on a Main Street. 

We have another statue of an author sitting on a park bench, which allows others to sit with him.

I understand that the American war memorials have a more serious and solemn spirit attached to them, but for those not having grown up in America, they may not be so easy to recognize just because of the vast number of them.  I think most people would recognize the Lincoln memorial, the Vietnam wall thing and the Freedom tower but there are so many more that tourists wouldn't immediately recognize.

Where I'm at, there's a memorial for World War One soldiers at the top of a bell tower, one has to climb up and it is very quiet and solumn, it has pictures of boys in their university sports teams with the boys who died having white crosses on their chests.  There is no mistaking what is going on there.

So what I'm saying is that although signs must be obeyed and a fountain in a city centre would be the least desirable source of cooling water, maybe it just isn't that obvious to all tourists what this fountain is about. 

For really important memorials, are they roped off or guarded?  If so then things will mostly be under control.

Mustard

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2016, 01:00:33 PM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Yvaine

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2016, 01:33:26 PM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Some statues are designed that way on purpose! At my college, there's a statue commemorating an artist who went to school there (or more accurately, his most famous character). It's the character sitting at a bar table, and it's designed so you can sit at the table with the character. It's a popular photo op.

sidi-ji

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2016, 01:56:25 PM »
The most polite behavior(which should be the default option), would be to refrain from activities  which are not expressly  permitted. IOW, look for signs permitting, or welcoming  wading.  Otherwise  stay out.  This is not cultural, or generational issue. It seems to be purely  "me and my comfort, or my fun".

Mustard

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2016, 02:00:05 PM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Some statues are designed that way on purpose! At my college, there's a statue commemorating an artist who went to school there (or more accurately, his most famous character). It's the character sitting at a bar table, and it's designed so you can sit at the table with the character. It's a popular photo op.

That isn't climbing on a statue though.

#borecore

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2016, 02:19:59 PM »
The World War II memorial in DC is not just some statue on a street corner. It's very clearly part of the large National Mall, and it's just not a swimming hole. I did see folks taking very silly pictures next to their state's monument ("Look! Florida! Hell yeah!") and giving the middle finger to their rival team's state, seemingly not realizing that it was a war memorial. That was certainly inappropriate. This is different, but still inappropriate.

There are plenty of interactive and less somber monuments and museums and statutes in DC and the world. I fully support having fun at a fun place. It's just not the right place.

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2016, 04:43:08 PM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Some statues are designed that way on purpose! At my college, there's a statue commemorating an artist who went to school there (or more accurately, his most famous character). It's the character sitting at a bar table, and it's designed so you can sit at the table with the character. It's a popular photo op.

That isn't climbing on a statue though.

And it's also a statue designed expressly for that kind of interaction.
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JeanFromBNA

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2016, 04:50:41 PM »
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 incredible.  It seems like they were ghosts come to life.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2016, 05:14:11 PM »
My father was drafted into the army in WWII the day after he graduated high school.  I have his draft notice and his report card.  He served four years, then enlisted in the Navy.

This behavior disturbs me.  Not everything is for you, about you, for your comfort, your pleasure, your amusement.  Walking around the monuments on a hot summer day is not a sacrifice.  It's not even an inconvenience, since you had a choice to not inconvenience yourself.  Generations before you did the same thing and did not die from the heat or lack of recreational opportunities. 

It is a generational thing.  Photos of tourists wading in the memorial pool show younger people, not an older generation.

CuriousParty

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2016, 05:30:00 PM »
If the signs say no, the people should obey the signs.

However.

If the designers looked at that plan of a wide pool of water at level with the ground, with a "step" around the rim and a wide space between the rim and the jets, in the heart of DC, and thought, even for a moment, that it WASN'T going to get waded in, then I have little regard for their common sense. And the "coins damage the fountain" notice is, in my opinion, equally foolish. If you are going to design a memorial for the public to visit, then your design should consider both the memorialized and the public.

darkprincess

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2016, 06:03:58 PM »
If the signs say no, the people should obey the signs.

However.

If the designers looked at that plan of a wide pool of water at level with the ground, with a "step" around the rim and a wide space between the rim and the jets, in the heart of DC, and thought, even for a moment, that it WASN'T going to get waded in, then I have little regard for their common sense. And the "coins damage the fountain" notice is, in my opinion, equally foolish. If you are going to design a memorial for the public to visit, then your design should consider both the memorialized and the public.

This makes the most sense.

tabitha

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2016, 07:36:24 PM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Some statues are designed that way on purpose! At my college, there's a statue commemorating an artist who went to school there (or more accurately, his most famous character). It's the character sitting at a bar table, and it's designed so you can sit at the table with the character. It's a popular photo op.

That isn't climbing on a statue though.

And it's also a statue designed expressly for that kind of interaction.

But if this is what one is used to, than how is one to know?  It goes back to the "when in Rome" thread.  What if the tourist just doesn't know, or for that matter can't read English, or doesn't know American history, or, as I did, grew up in a city where the memorials actually are meant to be a part of modern society, not sectioned off from modern society?

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with putting a statue on a pedestal in the middle of a fountain and expecting people not to put their feet in, but if it's a city that attracts tourists from the whole world, it may attract tourists for whom sitting on the edge of the fountain, maybe with their feet in, eating a sandwhich and thinking about what they're looking at is being respectful.

I'm not saying it makes it wrong to become bothered by the act, but it may actually be unclear to the non-American.  Or anyone who comes from a city where there are fountains and statues everywhere without these restrictions.

It makes me think of the montage from the movie "To Sir, With Love" when the teens go to the museum and take pictures of themselves with the statues and it turns out they share the same hairstyles as the ancient Greeks or Romans, or they feel the same oppression of the women or the slaves. 

I kissed Oscar Wilde's grave in Paris and stood in front of Alexander Dumas's fake tomb. In my society, touching a grave stone is so much more important than if anyone is standing on the soil. 

We can't expect everyone to always live by our norms, or assume that if they don't, they mean disrespect. 

baglady

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2016, 09:16:08 PM »
If there is a sign that says, "No swimming," "No wading," or "Keep your sweaty butt out of the water," that sign should be obeyed. Period. Doesn't matter if the reason for the prohibition is respect, hygiene or safety (remember the kid who was snatched by an alligator while wading in the lagoon at a Disney resort posted with "no swimming" signs?). There is a reason and it should not be ignored.

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Tini

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2016, 01:15:15 AM »
I don't understand why climbing on any statue  would be acceptable; they are obviously not pieces of play/leisure equipment.  Any tourist, particularly in a culture foreign to them, would do well to refrain from crawling all over an art work.

Welllll... have a look at this picture:


The pigs and the dog have been polished entirely by people's bums over the decades. They stand in Sögestrasse (Swine Street) in my home town, and it's just what you do. One of the pigs makes an excellent slide for small children. I used to slide down myself forty-odd years ago.

Bethalize

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Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2016, 02:52:55 AM »
I like memorials and art that encourage interaction. The Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park is designed exactly so you can paddle and play in it. It's wonderful.