Tag Archives: memorial

USA 2019 – 06 The World War II Memorial in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 DEC 2020

At the opposite end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, on the site where once stood the Rainbow Pool, now sits the World War II Memorial, a memorial of national significance that serves to honor Americans who served in the armed forces and who survived World War II. Opened by George W. Bush in 2004, this compact and open memorial sits in a relatively central space on the National Mall and offers yet another space for self-reflection and remembrance among all the surrounding tourist bustle.

The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza, with each pillar inscribed with the name of one of the 48 U.S. states of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are two large arches at either end of the plaza, the northern arch inscribed with “Atlantic” and the southern one with “Pacific”, with the plaza itself giving way to a fountain lined pool. The walls include many reliefs of war-related scenes, as well as numerous historical quotes taken from the period. (Interestingly, the memorial also includes two inconspicuously located “Kilroy was here” engravings, acknowledging their symbolic role played among American troops).

On the west side of the plaza is the Freedom Wall, a block of granite set with 4084 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war, and with an inscription that reads “Here we mark the price of freedom”. Given its sunken level and central position, the memorial allows for views of both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, whilst the ever moving water creates a space to sit down and quietly reflect on these terrible events that forever stained human history.

The World War II Memorial is by no means a grandiose memorial nor one that screams its ideals at you, but as with the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial it does the job of making you think about and to remember this period in the hopes that it never need be repeated.

USA 2019 – 05 The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 DEC 2020

Like the nearby Washington Monument, or the Statue of Liberty, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Eiffel Tower, or even our beloved Table Mountain, the incredibly special Lincoln Memorial is one of those iconic landmark pieces that filmmakers are able to (and often do) use so that you immediately know just exactly where in the world this story is currently taking place. As such, the opportunity to experience such an incredibly important American landmark in person was enough to make me giddy with excitement!

Of course, the Lincoln Memorial is a lot more important to the fabric of American society than just a landmark. The memorial honors Abraham Lincoln, the 16th and perhaps greatest of US presidents, a statesman and lawyer that before his assassination in 1865 managed to lead the nation through the American Civil War, earmarked as one of the country’s greatest moral, constitutional, and political crises, and in doing so, succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. In short, the memorial serves to symbolize his belief in the freedom and dignity of all people, and as such has featured prominently in almost all campaigns for equality (especially in terms of race relations) across the broad spectrum of people that call themselves American.

The architect commissioned for the job was Henry Bacon, who went on to draw inspiration from the great neoclassical temples, with the end result being this incredibly beautiful and stoic Greek Doric temple which contains an exquisite and large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln (designed by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers) flanked by excerpts from both his second inaugural address and his Gettysburg address. Clad in Yule marble quarried from Colorado, the structure is surrounded by 36 fluted columns, above which are inscribed the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.

Shuffled off to the side is a TINY little gift shop, while below the structure is a small underground museum, which delivers some history about Lincoln as well as the memorial itself, expanding on in particular its role as a race relations center. Stretching out in front of the memorial, all the way through to the World War II memorial, is the Lincoln Reflecting Pool, a massive canal of still water that completes the design and turns the whole affair into this really special space of self-reflection that has a certain air of tranquility about it – despite the overwhelming hordes of tourists that make the pilgrimage to see this very important piece of American history!

USA 2019 – 04 The Memorials and Museums of the National Mall in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 OCT 2020

If you are a history buff, enjoy grandiose memorials and monuments, or simply love absorbing knowledge wherever you go, then there is simply no finer American location for this than Washington D.C.’s incredible National Mall, the giant landscaped park area pinned by the famous Washington Monument in the middle, bounded on either side by the United States Capitol and the exquisite Lincoln Memorial, and flanked along its length by the grounds of the White House and countless Smithsonian museums (including the famous Smithsonian Institution Building aka The Castle) and other national arts and cultural institutions.

With long walkways and plenty of lawns stretching out all around you, this stretch of green is incredibly popular with the locals as an exercise and relaxation venue, though of course they have to contend with the never ending throngs of both domestic and international tourists picking their way through this smorgasbord of knowledge and culture. (So yes, this means a lot of busses, a lot of electric scooters, and a lot of foot traffic!)

And smorgasbord of things to take in it honestly is. The reality is you probably need more than a week to get a taste of everything on offer. For example, in terms of landmarks and museums contained in the National Mall proper, you have the National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, West Building of the National Gallery of Art, East Building of the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of the American Indian, National Air and Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Arts and Industries Building, Smithsonian Institution Building, Freer Gallery of Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Museum of African Art, and the exquisite National Museum of African American History and Culture. (And bear in mind, most of these are also paired with a garden or landscape to explore as well!).

The eastern end of the National Mall includes features like the imposing United States Capitol, Union Square and the United States Botanic Garden, while to the west lies the majority of monuments and memorials, including the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National World War II Memorial, Constitution Gardens, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

And then there are all the nearby attractions which should all be included in the above lists but simply aren’t: for example, the White House, Library of Congress, United States Supreme Court Building, National Postal Museum, Union Station, Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

While I managed to at least catch a glimpse of every single item mentioned in the above list, my three days in Washington DC meant that I had to pick and choose between what I really wanted to get a taste of – and as you can see from all the items that I hyperlinked above, I only really managed to squeeze in about 12. Not a bad number, but man did my poor aching feet hate me so much! (In hindsight, maybe I should have tried my luck by precariously balancing on one of those electric rideshare scooter things!)

The museums were fascinating, the memorials somber, the beautiful stone architecture grandiose, and all this was paired with the start of Autumn’s magnificent foliage color change. An incredible experience and opportunity for sure.

USA 2019 – 03 Exploring the area around Lafayette Square in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 15 AUG 2020

Having a general idea of how to get to the White House and National Mall based on my observations during my SuperShuttle ride to the hotel just outside of China Town, I slowly picked my way through the streets of Washington DC until I stumbled into Lafayette Square, the seven-acre public park that forms part of President’s Park and which stands directly north of the White House.

Named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat and hero of the American Revolutionary War, the public green space features big ornate bronze statues of revolutionary heroes from Europe in each of its four corners, and is centered by a well known statue of early 19th century U.S. President and general Andrew Jackson on horseback surrounded by cannons.

Of course, at the edge of the park is the White House, but clearly something of importance was happening on the day as there was a very visible police presence, there was a second barrier keeping you away from the famous fence, not to mention that a lot of the primary fence was boarded up, meaning that you couldn’t really get that famous view of the presidential residence. (At least I got to see Trump fly in to the White House on the Marine One helicopter while I was standing among the crowd comprised of fans, protestors and of course we the tourists!)

From there I sauntered around President’s Park, taking in all the grandiose architecture of the many stately and imposing office buildings that make up such a large part of Washington D.C.’s identity, as well as the myriad of home bases that the many varied associations take up to be close to the Capitol. As you might imagine its just columns, statues, memorials and that beautiful stone wherever you look.

Major General John A Rawlins, Simon Bolivar, Jose Gervasio Artigas, Jose Cecilio del Valle, the Daughters of the American Revolution, American Red Cross, the Organization of American States, the United States Institute of Peace – so much things to be seen and noted for further research back at the hotel I tell you!

(Another fine catch from my impromptu stroll down Constitution Avenue was that of the National Academy of Sciences and its brilliant bronze sculpture in tribute of famed scientist Albert Einstein.)

And then of course I crossed the road onto the National Mall as the magnificent Lincoln Memorial rose up before me…

Memorials, Trees and a Chapel at The Old Fort in Durban (2018-02-07) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 09 FEB 2019

Durban’s Old Fort (just next to Kingsmead Stadium) has had a long history tied to military action – the site having been first established as a military camp by the British back in May 1842, when 237 men of the 27th Regiment and Royal Artillery under Captain Thomas Charlton Smith were sent in to respond to an imminent Boer threat.

Following the ensuing retaliatory siege by the Boers after the failed British attack on Congella (lifted only be the arrival of the schooner Conch and the frigate HMS Southampton), a permanent fort was built on the site and a permanent British garrison was based there with a larger force being stationed outside Pietermaritzburg at Fort Napier.

Over the years a number of British Regiments did garrison duty in Durban and eventually the fort was later leased by the War Office to the Durban Light Infantry where it was at last converted into cottages for veterans. (Incidentally, the magazine was converted into a chapel and given the tranquil, lush nature of the grounds, the chapel has proven to be one of the city’s most popular wedding venues over the years!)

These days the grounds are open to the public, providing a quiet green space within the bustling city. There are old military relics scattered about to discover, and if you are somewhat of a military nerd, then the hugely informative Warrors Gate M.O.T.H. (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) Museum and Shrine (situated on the grounds) is an absolute must.

[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”53819,53820,53821,53822,53823,53824,53825,53826,53827,53828,53829,53830,53831,53832,53833,53834,53835,53836,53837,53838,53839,53840,53841,53842,53843,53844,53845,53846,53847,53848,53849,53850,53851,53852,53853,53854,53855,53856,53857,53858,53859,53860,53861,53862,53863,53864,53865,53866,53867,53868,53869,53870,53871,53872,53873,53874,53875,53876,53877,53878,53879,53880,53881,53882,53883,53884,53885″]

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in South African military history then.

Related Link: The Old Fort | Durban

Grandma Lotter Eulogy (2018) My Life 21 JAN 2018

My dad’s mom, my last remaining grandparent, passed away at the start of this year. She was 82. As is now the tradition, I was asked to deliver the eulogy at the memorial service, and in an effort to preserve it online for myself, this is what I said…

Beatrice Elaine Lötter (20/04/1935 – 04/01/2018) – Memorial 10 January 2018

Thank you for all being here today. We are gathered here in remembrance and to pay our respects to Beatrice Elaine Lötter, who most of you would have known as Bea, to some of us as Granny Lotter, and to even fewer still, as Mom.

For those of you who don’t know, Gran hails from the Eastern Cape, having grown up in Bathurst before moving on to Grahamstown where she pursued a career as a theater nurse. It was there where she met and started seriously courting my grandfather (and his motorbike), himself a nurse who specialised in working at psychiatric wards.

Following Grandpa’s various postings, the two of them jumped around between Grahamstown, Queenstown and our very own Bellville, with a small family jump-started somewhere in between. Having come from a big family, and now with four boisterous boys to take care of herself, Gran would eventually step back from the nursing profession and move on to being a full time home-maker, as she and Grandpa dove headfirst into quiet suburban life.

Jumping forward in time to 1983, Granny and Grandpa finally settled back in Bellville (shortly after my birth), thereby becoming permanent fixtures in our upbringing – so much so that I still have very fond memories of them playing games with us kids and cards with my folks twice a week, every week, for pretty much forever – first Wednesday evening at our house and then Friday evening at theirs!

Gran and Grandpa had an immense love for the outdoors, and they were almost constantly away for weekends in either their trusty Autovilla or caravan (of which they had many!), spending many of those weekends away in the company of their beloved Tygerberg Caravan Club compatriots. My siblings and I often got a chance to join them on these adventures, which if I remember right were always an absolute blast – probably because gran was known for always making sure that there was always some sort of sweet treat on hand!

In terms of loves, Gran absolutely adored playing games (cards, jukskei and bowls I can definitely remember as favourites) and watching sports – particularly if a national team was involved. She loved watching the cricket in particular – basically, if the Proteas were playing a game then you could always ring her up and be of getting an accurate match update!

Gran was perhaps a natural worrier, but more importantly, she was always willing to lend a hand and step in to serve wherever, and whenever, she was needed. She was always involved, always on some or other committee. She loved her garden, she loved her sports, she loved her kids, she loved her grandkids, and she loved her great grandkids.

And as such, we’ll miss her. Her friends at Eden Park will miss her. Her friends in the Presbyterian church will miss her. We family will miss her.

Hopefully, with the pain finally gone and perhaps now in the company of her loved ones gone before her, Bea can well and truly be in peace.

Rest well Granny Lotter.

The Lions of Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 17 NOV 2017

I’ve written about the Rhodes Memorial on these pages before,  and earlier in June I took my two girls up the slopes of Devil’s Peak to go and see this unique, classically inspired memorial to the English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes.

Firstly, if you have never seen this national monument in person before, then the Sir Herbert Baker and Francis Macey designed structure sitting on the flank of Table Mountain (above my old alma mater UCT for that matter) is guaranteed to impress.

(Well, that said, the girls didn’t really think it was all that. The liked the stairs and the horse, but as far as what they were concerned, the most exciting bit was  the prospect of being allowed to take a photo or two with my phone camera, a promise that I had to make before we had even exited the car!)

Flanked by eight lions (cast by J.W. Swan and modeled upon those protecting Nelson column in Trafalgar Square), the memorial is fronted by the dynamic ‘Statue of Energy’, an imposing horse with rider sculpture – said to be a tribute to Rhodes’ restless drive and determination.

49 granite steps (one for each year of his life) then lead you to the main viewing platform which is adorned with a classic arrangement of Doric columns, the center at which stands the bronze bust of Cecil John Rhodes himself.

At this point of the photos, you might of course notice something slightly out of place.

Sadly, during the populist anti-colonialism outcry (complete with symbol defacement) that took place throughout South Africa in 2016, a few activists tried to behead the bust, ultimately failing in their attempt but doing enough damage so as to leave Rhodes without his nose.

As you might imagine, this does rather spoil the whole effect.

The site is also home to a popular tea garden and restaurant (makes sense when you consider the gorgeous view over Cape Town to be had from this location), and is also the starting base for a couple of popular Table Mountain hikes.

(The hour long walk to the King’s Blockhouse being one of those).

For the record, we didn’t pop in to the tea garden because we still had quite a few other interesting things to get to on the day (Llandudno Beach, Hout Bay Harbour, and World of Birds to be exact), but the girls were okay with that – after all, I did let them fool around with my phone camera for a bit…

[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”47277,47278,47279,47280,47281,47282,47283,47284,47285,47286,47287,47288,47289,47290,47291,47292,47293,47294,47295,47296,47297,47298,47299,47300,47301,47302,47303,47304,47305,47306,47307,47308,47309,47310,47311,47312,47313,47314,47315,47316,47317,47318,47319,47320,47321,47322,47323,47324″]

A visit to Rhodes Memorial doesn’t take particularly long, and no matter your view on colonialism or the likes of people like Cecil John Rhodes, it is worth a visit just for the architecture and view alone!

Related Link: Rhodes Memorial | Rhodes Memorial Tea Garden

Things to See in South Africa: Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town Travel Attractions 22 MAY 2016

Completed and dedicated in 1912, the imposing granite Rhodes Memorial sits on Devil’s Peak overlooking Cape Town, a memorial to the English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 1

Designed by famed architect Sir Herbert Baker, the memorial is situated at Rhodes’s favourite spot on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak – in fact, Rhodes’s own wooden bench is still situated below the memorial (which makes sense considering that he own most of the land making up the lower slopes of Table Mountain!). The site faces north-east, which one can easily imagine as marking the start of the Cape to Cairo road, Rhodes’s championed imperial dream of a British colonial Africa.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 3

Built mostly of Cape granite quarried on Table Mountain, the memorial consists of a massive staircase with 49 steps (one for each year of Rhodes’s life) leading from a semi-circular terrace up to a rectangular U-shaped monument formed of pillars.

At the bottom of the steps is a bronze statue of a horseman, Physical Energy by George Frederic Watts. Eight bronze lions by John Macallan Swan flank the steps leading up to the memorial, with a bust of Rhodes completing the installation.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 2

The inscription on the monument is “To the spirit and life work of Cecil John Rhodes who loved and served South Africa”. Also inscribed, below the bust of Rhodes, are the last four lines of the last stanza from the 1902 poem Burial by Rudyard Kipling in honour of Rhodes:

The immense and brooding spirit still
Shall quicken and control.
Living he was the land, and dead,
His soul shall be her soul!

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 4

Today the memorial is part of the Table Mountain National Park. It sports a well-known tea room, making it a popular viewpoint and picnicking spot. It also marks the starting point for a number of walks and hikes on Devil’s Peak.

rhodes memorial on devil's peak in cape town south africa 5

Related Link: Rhodes Memorial

Things to See in South Africa: The Honoured Dead Memorial in Kimberley Travel Attractions 21 MAY 2016

The Honoured Dead Memorial stands at the meeting point of five roads, commemorating those who died defending the city of Kimberley against the Boers during the Siege of Kimberley in the Anglo-Boer War.

the honoured dead memorial in kimberley, northern cape, south africa 1

This sobering war memorial, inspired by the Nereid Monument at Xanthos and designed by the famed Sir Herbert Baker on commission from Cecil John Rhodes, was unveiled in 1904.

the honoured dead memorial in kimberley, northern cape, south africa 3

It is listed as a provincial heritage site in Kimberley (Northern Cape), and is primarily built of sandstone quarried in from the Matopo Hills in Zimbabwe. The memorial serves as a tomb for 27 soldiers, and features the inscription (by Rudyard Kipling):

This for a charge to our children in sign of the price we paid. The Price we paid for the freedom that comes unsoiled to your hand. Read, revere and uncover for here are the victors laid. They that died for the city being sons of the land.

the honoured dead memorial in kimberley, northern cape, south africa 2

Standing at the base of the memorial is the Long Cecil gun, pointed at the Free State and surrounded by shells from the Boers’ Long Tom guns.

the honoured dead memorial in kimberley, northern cape, south africa 4

the honoured dead memorial in kimberley, northern cape, south africa 5

Related Link: Honoured Dead Memorial