How We Remember

From Vietnam to Oklahoma City, America's new memorials help us come to terms with the tragic past. But they also reflect the complicated present

Some questions presented by the chairs: Is one supposed to sit in them? If so, does one sit to be close to the dead, to be in their place and assume their perspective? Does one sit in judgment, vigilance, serenity, longing? Does one sit in protest, as at a sit-in, against acts of terrorism and anarchy? Does one sit with America? And if one does not sit--and no one here, not a single visitor to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, makes a move to do so--then is it the chairs that do the sitting? Is theirs the seat of government, power?...

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