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DECEMBER 22, 2007    

In memory of...

Cleveland Firefighters' memorial in Willard ParkThe original Cleveland Firefighters' Memorial in Willard Park next to City Hall.

Stark, simple, names and not much else. But what else is needed?

New Cleveland Firefighters' memorial near the Science CenterThe new memorial in front of the Great Lakes Science Center, dedicated in 2007.

Colorful? Yes. Respectful? Not to my way of thinking.

Note the names on the base, overshadowed by the lumpy claw-like flames, faced by two individuals in shiny Darth Vader masks. Reminds me of a bad action movie: all special effects, no heart. Easily forgotten.

The lesson of Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans' memorial—focus on the human cost, not spectacle—was clearly ignored here.

The goal of those responsible for the new memorial was something "more recognizable and representative of the dangers facing today's fire fighters." I suppose you could say they accomplished this. The sculpture is recognizable, and the equipment worn and used by the firefighters is contemporary—as of 2007. But memorials should be timeless...I don't think this one will age gracefully.

As for achieving the other part of their goal "...honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Cleveland," I'd give this a D.




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