From the Archive: From the Vietnam Memorial wall to ‘The Embrace’

Art doesn’t need to apologize.

A former colleague once said that in the middle of a hectic day in the old newsroom. I can’t recall what he was referring to — column? photo? review? — but it stuck. I’d say it applies to Salvador Dalí to Vladimir Nabokov and more in between.

Add to that list “The Embrace” statue on the Boston Common. Many don’t see it as a good fit for the space, including Herald contributing columnist Rasheed Walters. Close to 1,000 readers have voted in our survey on the matter. (75% say it’s not appealing; 10% vote it’s amazing.)

But for today’s “From the Archives” entry, we look back at the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., which was criticized from the day it was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982, and for years after. But, it’s now seen as a near-perfect reflection of a war that never should have been.

Will that happen here in Boston to “The Embrace?” Only time will tell.

The Wall is poignant. You can feel the cold granite as your fingers pass over the names of the 58,000 and more service members who died or went missing in Southeast Asia from 1959 to 1975.

The 144 panels of polished black granite have been duplicated countless times since in local showings of traveling walls. I’ve seen the one in DC myself and believe it has done justice to those who gave their lives in service to our country.

Here are a few clips from back in 1982 of that time. And, I suggest, “The Embrace” deserves a second look. MLK would want it that way.

Nov. 14, 1982, page 1

Nov. 14, 1982, page 3

Opinion, Feb. 23, 1983

Page1 Nov. 14, 1982
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