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Washington: The Classical City

Last June, the Program on American Citizenship teamed with the National Civic Art Society to present a panel discussion on the important role that memorials play in civic life, using the recent controversies over the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the proposed Eisenhower Memorial to guide the conversation. You can watch the full discussion between panelists Michael J. Lewis (Williams College), Roger Scruton (AEI), Bruce Cole (Hudson Institute) and Diana Schaub (Loyola University Maryland) here. In the January 17th issue of the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse, the National Civic Art Society continued the conversation.

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Monumental Egos

In the April issue of The American Spectator, AEI’s Roger Scruton joins the long line of criticism in arguing against Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial.

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The end of friendship?

At our next American Enterprise Debate, philosopher and AEI scholar Roger Scruton will make the case that new forms of social media like Facebook and Twitter are doing fundamental damage to the way humans relate to each other and to the social and cultural benefits provided by face-to-face interaction. Tyler Cowen, economist and author of the blog Marginal Revolution, will counter that social media are enhancing human relationships and making us smarter. Adam Keiper, editor of the New Atlantis, will moderate the debate. May 11, 2011 Watch live at AEI or online at http://www.aei.org.

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Doing right by Ike

In the last few weeks, The Weekly Standard has published two articles discussing Dwight D. Eisenhower and the proposed memorial in honor of him, designed by architect Frank Gehry.

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Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life

Over the past year, the recently dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the planned Eisenhower Memorial have renewed controversy about the meaning and purpose of public memorials. What do America’s memorials and monuments tell us about our nation and our identity as citizens? How should we memorialize past events and individuals?

At an event on Friday, May 18, 2012, that was co-sponsored by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship and theNational Civic Art Society, a distinguished panel discussed the important role of public memorials in civic life, using the recent controversies over the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the proposed Eisenhower Memorial to guide the conversation.

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Eisenhower memorial criticism all around

As criticism of the proposed memorial has grown, so too have attacks on the critics. Writing in the Architectural Record about the Program’s recent event on memorials, Ben Adler characterized the monument’s critics as simply conservative “curmudgeons” who will “always revile Modernism for both ideological and aesthetic reasons.”

Responding to Adler in the same journal, the Program’s Gary Schmitt and Cheryl Miller write, “In defending architectural Modernism, Adler falls into the very trap he warns against.”

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Event re-cap: Monumental Fights


Missed Friday’s discussion on “Monumental fights: The role of memorials in civic life”? Don’t worry–you can watch the video of the event here, read about it it in the Washington Examiner, or check out our event re-cap.

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The problems with Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

In our preparation for May 18’s discussion panel at AEI on “Monumental Fights: The Role of Memorials in Civic Life” (register at the link), we bring you another essay by a panel participant discussing the importance of proper memorials to honor our great statesmen. In this selection from First Things, Eric Wind and Erik Bootsma, both of the National Civic Art Society (with whom we are co-sponsoring the event), raise concerns about Frank Gehry’s proposed Eisenhower Memorial and the way the design process was conducted.

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Upcoming event: Monumental Fights

Over the past year, the recently dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial and the planned Eisenhower Memorial have renewed controversy about the meaning and purpose of public memorials. What do America’s memorials and monuments tell us about our nation and our identity as citizens? How should we memorialize past events and individuals? In this event, co-sponsored by the Program on American Citizenship and the National Civic Art Society, a distinguished panel will address these questions and comment on the MLK and Eisenhower memorials.

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Gratitude and civic education

In this month’s issue of the Hoover Institution’s Policy Review, Jim Ceaser has penned a thoughtful ode to the virtue of gratitude. It’s a timely article, coming after our national day of Thanksgiving and after we commemorated our World War II veterans in last week’s remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Characterizing gratitude as “one of the most fundamental and complex of the virtues,” Ceaser emphasizes the connection between gratitude and culture, writing that gratitude for past acts must “come from the determined efforts of every generation. Each must devise means to ensure that memories are preserved and that an understanding of what those in the past gave to posterity remains palpable to those who follow.” Remembrance is necessary for gratitude, and gratitude necessary for civic virtue.

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