News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • September 26, 2017, 11:53:17 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial  (Read 9830 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kglory

  • Member
  • Posts: 979
Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #60 on: July 06, 2016, 12:34:01 AM »
Awww thank you all!  I'm honored that you feel touched by my grandfather's story.  I started typing a little bit to explain where I was coming from, and then just couldn't stop! :)   It's one personal example of the way many WWII veterans feel.

Mime, so sorry your uncle never got a chance to come.  He sounds like a wonderful man and I do thank him for his service.

Honor Flights is a fabulous nonprofit https://www.honorflight.org/ which flies in WWII and other veterans from around the country, especially elderly or ill veterans, and transports them to the memorials, at no cost.  Treating them like honored & esteemed guests in the process.  It's a really big deal to these veterans to get to come, a once in a lifetime chance.

All that being said:
1) I agree with the PPs who say the design should have been better, to block off the pool or make it not accessible.
2) I also agree with PPs that many who wade do not mean to be disrespectful - they may not have seen the signs, not speak English, or just be following what they see others doing.  It's not malicious. 
3) Also, I agree with the sentiment that life goes on -- and kids being happy, joy and freedom, is a welcome thing for many veterans to see. 

So maybe one takeaway is to have a good time but just temper one's behavior, and make sure you and your children aren't being disruptive to the people for whom this memorial is the Big Deal.

And another being - if you are near a monument and you see a person wearing a veteran's hat or Honor Flight T-shirt or the like - go up to them and thank them for their service.  It's not necessary, but it is such a mitzvah (kindness), and will be so appreciated.  I didn't consciously think about this until I saw how my grandfather lit up with the thanks of other tourists and the park ranger.  A word or two of thanks and respect can go a long way :)

I appreciate all you are saying, and as I said before, people have the right to feel upset.  But again, the bolded insinuates that visitors are disregarding the idea that others think the monument should be treated a certain way. 

But what about visitors, who also had grandfathers who fought in The War, and if one is European, or born in any of the former British Colonies including India, Australia, New Zealand, and many parts of Africa, what if they honour the fallen in a different way?

How does anyone know, (besides the obvious hoodlum s that are messing around), that these visitors are not visiting America and this monument to honour the soldiers that fought along side their family members? But that, in some places in the world, memorials are not solemn places, but places of celebration?  Does one have the right to say they are not as proud, not as loving, not as sad about the lives that were ruined in WW2?

And why not just raise this issue with the city?  The only way to stop it is build a barrier.  But please don't transfer ill will to the other without there being evidence.  And don't forget the war was a world war.  It may have ended 71 years ago, but parts of Europe are still rebuilding or sitting in ruins. 

It has not in any way been forgotten.  It is just remembered in as many different ways as there are people.

I'm not attributing ill will to people at all. (#2 above, they probably mean no disrespect, they probably aren't thinking about it.)

More importantly -  this isn't an American vs. non-American issue. The majority of children playing in the pool are probably Americans, due to demographics. From the article Tierrainney linked, some DC residents think wading in the pool is just fine.  From DCGirl's original article, all those quoted who think they should be able to wade with their children are locals.  The woman walking her dog in the pool (!) is clearly a local. 

Visitors from Europe or Australia who fought in the war - or visitors to DC from any country, for any reason - are of course welcome, and welcome to honor the fallen as they see fit.  Where did I say anything negative about other nationalities?  I would never.  The rise of xenophobia in the world lately is awful and I totally oppose those politicians or people who are stirring up hatred.  You are absolutely right, it was a world war, and Europe unfortunately experienced a lot more of the casualties and fighting in their own countries.  If I went to Europe and visited a memorial or concentration camp, I would be respectful and follow the rules set by that site, for just this reason. 

As for why not raise the issue to the city?  Because this is not "my issue" - yes I've written a lot in this thread now that the subject came up, but there are 1,000,000 other causes I'd rather the government dedicate attention to. ;)   In the scheme of things, this is so small.

I just personally believe that people should follow the rules of the park, both as they are the rules and out of respect for the veterans.  Many don't feel the same way, for various reasons, and that is their right.  Just that maybe, some people at the park may not have thought about it, and reading the article or hearing what it means to veterans may help them make a more informed choice.



JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Member
  • Posts: 7021
Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #61 on: July 07, 2016, 09:47:19 AM »
Exactly; one should be able to tell the difference between interactive street 'furniture' and a memorial to the fallen.

Is it always clear? To anyone from any country?  And also, "one should be able to tell the difference" doesn't mean one always can.  And again, there are different ways of respecting the brave, the honourable, those that gave their lives...it varies by culture.

Didn't these soldiers die so that children can play freely?

Again, no one should disobey signs stating the fountain is off limits, I just think it is not neccesarily a sign of disrespect if someone ends up in one.

Nope, it's not always clear. I know this because I have been to this memorial and put my feet in the water (I think? I know my kids did). There were many, many people all sitting around it with their feet in the water so it never occurred to us that we shouldn't, in fact I recall thinking it was a really lovely and relaxing spot. The design is such that it looks like you are meant to sit around the sides. I didn't see any signs asking people to stay out of the water and we absolutely would have respected that had we seen one. I would never have allowed my kids to dip their feet if there had only been a couple of people doing so, we always err on the side of caution when unsure. I'm definitely not one of those "it's okay, everybody else is doing it" people so I feel bad now.

RainyDays

  • Member
  • Posts: 336
Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #62 on: July 07, 2016, 11:49:09 AM »
Exactly; one should be able to tell the difference between interactive street 'furniture' and a memorial to the fallen.

Is it always clear? To anyone from any country?  And also, "one should be able to tell the difference" doesn't mean one always can.  And again, there are different ways of respecting the brave, the honourable, those that gave their lives...it varies by culture.

Didn't these soldiers die so that children can play freely?

Again, no one should disobey signs stating the fountain is off limits, I just think it is not neccesarily a sign of disrespect if someone ends up in one.

Nope, it's not always clear. I know this because I have been to this memorial and put my feet in the water (I think? I know my kids did). There were many, many people all sitting around it with their feet in the water so it never occurred to us that we shouldn't, in fact I recall thinking it was a really lovely and relaxing spot. The design is such that it looks like you are meant to sit around the sides. I didn't see any signs asking people to stay out of the water and we absolutely would have respected that had we seen one. I would never have allowed my kids to dip their feet if there had only been a couple of people doing so, we always err on the side of caution when unsure. I'm definitely not one of those "it's okay, everybody else is doing it" people so I feel bad now.

I agree. We were in DC on a very hot day last year or the year before. We did not see any sign at the WWII memorial. Many, many people had their feet in the water, some younger kids were full on in. It was so hot, we had spent hours walking around, and with so many other people enjoying the cool water we all put our feet in.

And again, as others have pointed out, the design of the fountain appears that it is ok to do so -- a low, flat platform surrounding the fountain, with steps down into the water. There are other memorials around DC that have water features that are clearly -- clearly by nature of the design -- not intended for "interaction". The fountain was not designed that way, for whatever reason.

And I also agree that the WWII memorial is not inherently a somber place. It is in full sun, the water feature provides background sounds... the size feels overwhelming and you sense its significance, but the atmosphere is peaceful and people are full of smiles. It is a place of remembrance, to be sure. But remembrance does not necessarily equate to somberness. That memorial is an oasis in the midst of the DC memorials. If it was intended as a gathering place, then, like the reflecting pool, it is serving it's purpose.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Member
  • Posts: 10058
Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2016, 12:41:09 PM »
1. That water is probably incredibly insanitary. I used to walk by the Reflecting Pool down by the Capitol on a regular basis, and you could see stuff collecting in the corners. So on a purely health related basis, I would stay out of it.

2. There are signs posted telling you to stay out. So yes, it is rude to disregard them.

3. I think it is on you as a tourist to pay attention and look for things like these signs.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

tabitha

  • Member
  • Posts: 505
Re: Wading in the fountain at the WWII Memorial
« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2016, 05:30:24 PM »
Kglory,  I'm sorry if it sounded as thought I thought you were somehow afraid or against non-Americans. The thought actually never crossed my mind.

In much the same way that one who celebrates memories of those who have died for future generations and visits this memorial may not consider that following suit and resting feet in the water may be disrespectful.  If it has never crossed their minds, how do you expect them to "temper ones behaviour and make sure you and your children are not disruptive to the people to whom the monument is a big deal."?

I did interpret the words "to whom the monument is a big deal" to mean that one may suggest that it is not a big deal to those whose feet are in the water.  I still think it is possible to put ones feet there and still be full of love, honour and gratitude to the monument itself.

In response to Winterlight, in my mind there is no doubt that the water is unsanitary.  I can't help thinking of the river Ganges as we discuss this.  But, although I mentioned this in an earlier post and would not touch this water, it doesn't seem to be much of an argument.  (But I'm a hundred percent with you on this!)

Every single poster has said that if one sees the signs and can read them, then it is rude to disregard them.

Several posters have stated that they have visited this very monument and have not seen the signs.  You suggest that visitors should "look for things like these signs".  I have to disagree.  It I were the type of person who would indulge in the feet cooling topic at hand (I won't even stick a toe in a public pool), I think that if I saw twenty to thirty people already doing it, it would be safe to assume it's something that's done.  Should one in this case really seek out these signs?
And let's not forget those who can't read English. How many languages are the signs written in?