Yesterday, I read an obit of Hermann Zapf, whose name I had never heard, but whose work we’ve all seen: He was a designer of letters, typefaces, fonts. He came up with Palatino and Optima, to name two examples.
Optima, the obit noted, is used on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Fine by me. Very nice letters. But I’m still unreconciled to the memorial, after all these years (almost 35). I say this in Impromptus today, which is a D.C. journal — notes on Washington, D.C.
I’m sorry, but [the memorial] is still a black slab of shame. It is a disgrace. I don’t think I’ll ever be reconciled to it. Phyllis Schlafly called it “a tribute to Jane Fonda.” It is. It’s the Left’s view of Vietnam, in stone.”
I might add a remark by the late congressman Henry Hyde — who slammed the memorial as “a political statement of shame and dishonor.”
This view seems antique now (his and mine). My impression is that the memorial has long been accepted by Americans in general, including by Vietnam vets and the families of the dead. The Vietnam Memorial is a treasured American site. Scenes at the memorial are often touching — the name rubbings and so on.
Maybe I’ll come around, after another few decades . . .