All of which reminded me of the proposed Pentagon Memorial (to victims of 9/11). If you click this link you’ll see bizarre-looking cantilevered benches extending over pools of water – 158 of them, one for each victim. And what you don’t see are the equal number of decidous trees planted amongst the 158 little pools of water. Can we detach ourselves from the subject matter for a minute and imagine the maintenance nightmare created by such a wrong-headed design? Every park maintenance person within miles of D.C. issued grave warnings of expensive maintenance and repairs and extensive downtime, but when emotions run high, as they do here, the implementers and maintainers lose the argument.
So who chose such a problemmatic design, you might ask? The families. And God love ’em, but it’s too bad some actual expertise wasn’t somehow built into the design selection process. After all, they had more than 1,100 to choose from before winnowing it down to this one by two very young designers. Trouble is, Rumsfeld pledged immediately after 9/11 that the families would have a memorial and it would be exactly what they wanted. He neglected to mention they’d have to pay for it – there’s always a catch! – and the families are now schlepping across America trying to raise $32 million.