A renewed interest in public and private commemoration has reshaped the American landscape of memory over the last thirty years. In the public realm, Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial revolutionized the architecture of public monuments, opening a period of invention and innovation. With every new flower and letter that visitors placed along or on it, the Memorial was ever more “owned” by those visitors. Every tear they shed, hug they shared, knee they bowed in this very public place has suggested a renewed willingness to show emotion in what rapidly became one of the most sacred spots in the nation…
At the same time… Americans seem less willing to accept restrictions on their ability to express their emotions regarding the memories of the nation or the passing of a loved one.
The most illuminating trend, the roadside shrine, transcends traditional boundaries of public and private, creating private memorials in public space.
Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 12 (2005): 64-81.