A Memorial Park to the AIDS Epidemic

memorial park

A memorial park to the AIDS epidemic must honor not only the victims, but also the activists and caregivers who mobilized to provide care for the sick, fight discrimination, alter drug approval processes, and ultimately change the course of the epidemic.

A memorial park must balance the symbiotic relationship between natural wilderness and active recreation. Centralizing areas of recreation and reuniting fragmented ecological areas will facilitate user experience while respecting the sensitivity of historical and cultural landscapes.

The History of Memorial Park

Over the years, Memorial Park has been home to many a memorable event, both pleasant and unpleasant. But despite the turbulent events that took place in the past, the park continues to be a beautiful and serene destination for all to visit and enjoy.

The park was originally the site of a county tuberculosis sanitarium before being purchased in 1945 for use as a recreation area. During its time as a recreational facility, the park has served a number of purposes including providing a space for community picnics and even hosting professional golfers like Johnny Weissmuller and Byron Nelson.

The most notable addition to the park came in the form of a monument dedicated to submariners who served during World War Two. The monument was sculpted by Charles Adrian Pillars and is known as Spiritualized Life. The only monument in the park that is centered between two flags, it is a reminder to all who serve that “Purity of Service is the Best Honor” and that “Pride Runs Deep in the Silent Service.”

The Original Memorial Walls

The original Memorial Park included a low wall with the inscription “A Time to Pause and Remember” surrounded by lush landscaping and a flagpole and American Flag. It also featured a 6′ tall and 20′ long Wall of Heroes that holds 400 gorgeous nameplates honoring all Horseshoe Bend and Jerusalem Valley veterans.

The names are grouped in meaningful adjacencies. Friends and colleagues appear together, as do members of flight crews, first responder agencies and units. Family members of victims can request to have their loved ones’ names inscribed alongside specific others.

The Gold Star Monument is the newest monument in the Memorial Park, and it features the void design that symbolizes those missing forever from their cherished families. It was built in accordance with style guidelines set by the Woody Williams Foundation, a national nonprofit that helps establish permanent Gold Star Monuments in communities nationwide. The monument is accompanied by a Gold Star Honor Roll.

The Vietnam War Memorial

The Wall of Remembrance lists the names of all servicemen and women who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam War. The etched names begin and end at the origin point, or center, of the two walls – symbolizing the circle that a loss in this war created. The names are listed in chronological order. The original list contained 57,939 names. Today, that number has been reduced to 58,390 because of corrections, duplicates and servicemembers who were previously classified as Missing In Action and have since been accounted for.

The memorial is also home to the bronze statue of three servicemen that stands seven feet tall and carries a folded American flag. This statue honors the soldiers who never returned home and the men and women that fought to protect their country and freedom.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in Washington, DC. Hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the memorial each year, often leaving private offerings such as flowers, letters or dog tags.

The Peace Statue

The Peace Statue stands atop a hill at the far end of the Memorial Path. It is a 40 foot (12m) high giant lacquered Buddha figure, said to have required some 3.5 tons of lacquer and 18 years to complete.

It commemorates the thousands of Korean victims of the A-bomb, who were in Okinawa at the time as forced laborers. It faces in the direction of Korea to carry their souls back home.

A few other notable monuments in the Park include a stone lantern that was donated by the city of Dudley in England, and a Peace Cairn built from stones hewn from Britain’s highest mountain BEN NEVIS FORT WILLIAM Scotland, on 2 August 1972. The larger Peace Bell is also in the Park and visitors are encouraged to ring it for world peace. Unlike the competing headstones of traditional cemeteries, Memorial Park uses dignified sculptured bronze markers lying flat on landscaped plots to mark the locations of the graves.

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