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When memorials go very, very wrong May 29, 2014

Posted by Brian in links, news.
Tags: , , , , ,

Chillicothe, Ohio’s ill-conceived Korean War memorial (top) and Ottawa’s memorial to the wrong Jack Purcell (bottom). Photo credits: Top – unknown; Bottom-CTV News.

So…here is the story of two city-sanctioned memorials that completely crapped the bed from planning to installation.

First, we have a Korean War memorial that was unveiled during a Memorial Day ceremony in Chillicothe, Ohio. Now, you have to remember that the Korean War is known as “The Forgotten War” because it was sandwiched between higher profile conflicts like World War II and the Vietnam War. Yes, a very hugely popular movie and television series — “M*A*S*H”—was set in the Korean War, but people seem to remember that fact more than the actual conflict.

The town of Chillicothe and its area veterans wanted to build something that would pay tribute to county residents who lost their lives during the Korean War and give the conflict and its veterans the attention they deserve. Well, despite one of those Korean War veterans being the driving force behind the memorial, the finished product turned out to be a complete disgrace.

The town went by a government-issued list of 18 county residents who lost their lives during the Korean War. However, children and relatives of several other residents who died during the conflict say their names are missing. And then there is the design itself…a Photoshop disaster that includes content mostly NOT from the Korean War. In fact, one of the images is of the Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C. So, yeah, it’s the ultimate in laziness…an image of a memorial…within a memorial. Other images are of equipment and vehicles that didn’t exist at the time, and conflicts that took place years and even decades after the Korean War, including the Gulf War and current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Amazingly, the Korean War vet who masterminded this whole thing says he “(doesn’t) see what the big deal is.” WTF?

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Secondly, there is the curious case of the Jack Purcell memorial funded by the city of Ottawa, Ontario…the capital city of Canada. A former city resident named Jack Purcell, who died in 1966, became known as “The Stick Doctor” for repairing broken hockey sticks and giving them away to local children. The city recently commissioned a memorial to be installed in the park bearing his name. However, the city apparently didn’t give any background materials to the design consultant hired to create the sculptures. The result? He designed a memorial to the wrong Jack Purcell—a more famous badminton champion from Guelph, Ontario, who died in 1991…so all the sculptures are abstract badminton rackets that look more like question marks, which is somehow more appropriate (see the bottom image above).

The city spent somewhere close to $50,000 on this and it seems like the city is admitting they saw the design before construction began…but only made a minor change (they removed elements that would have looked like strings on the rackets) instead of ordering a complete redesign. That is just absurd. If you commission an installation, you make sure you get what you paid for.

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1. Brian - May 31, 2014

Reblogged this on Brian Kelley: Portfolio.

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