Tuesday, June 16, 2020

New Hampshire XIII

Headed to a family wedding in Vermont I passed by Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. I had heard somewhere that there was a memorial on campus so I thought I would check it out.

I wondered around forever, it seemed, asked numbers of people and came up with zilch, zip, nada. Unwilling to just give up and walk (or drive) away, I continued to seek someone with an answer.

Finally, after quite some time I spoke with someone who thought it might just be out in a particular courtyard.

Following her directions through several buildings, I found myself in the small, nearly completely enclosed courtyard.

Almost as if it had been hidden.

Happy to have finally located it it, I was further surprised to find that part of it was covered up.  I was told that this was to protect it from the harsh New Hampshire winters and it had not yet been uncovered as it was still April.

In 1978, the newly dedicated memorial plaque had not mentioned Vietnam. It was only three years since Saigon had fallen and the war was still quite controversial, but this bothered the President Emeritus, a former Marine, and he and his wife made a gift to have the memorial plaque remade as you see it here.

I found the following on a Dartmouth page about Robert Frost's words on the memorial:

"...while these lines are so familiar that they often seem little more than a cliché, in the context of Dartmouth's Vietnam dead they take on all the power and freshness they must have had at their creation.  Indeed, insofar as the poem's repeated last line is here replaced by ellipses, the way in which the quotation's incompleteness is thereby stressed also serves to emphasize the parallel incompleteness of 21 Dartmouth lives.  Metaphorically, then, in "stopping by woods on a snowy evening," these young men suffer the tragedy of having to leave promises unkept only because of premature deaths that unexpectedly deny the very possibility of miles to go before their sleep.  Seldom has a war memorial offered more solace even as it drives home the tragic waste of war by making it more personal."

The courtyard is called The Zahm Courtyard and is outside the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

I hope to get back on the road in the not too distant future and to get back to to see the memorial uncovered. I promise to update this post when that happens.

Next time, on the 21st, we will return to New Jersey, so join me there at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from New Hampshire, or any other state, please click on the state name on the left side of this page.

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