The Corner

Fountain Blues

A week or two ago, I reported on the new World War II Memorial in Washington–set to open formally in a couple of weeks but open to the public right now. I was underwhelmed. You can stand in the middle of the thing and not know that it’s a war memorial. Just a bunch of columns and fountains. In fairness, the fountains are nice–at least when they’re working. Today, when I visited the memorial with my family, they were dry, the result of “an electronic glitch,” according to a Park Service ranger. I’m starting to wonder why we put fountains in our national memorials. They seem to break down constantly. The World War II Memorial is brand new, for crying out loud. I’ve probably been to the Korean War Memorial–also pretty new–maybe half a dozen times and I think the fountain there has been working once or twice. A modest proposal: Let’s ban fountains at our national memorials.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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