chapter  2
War Mall: Civic art, memory, and war on America’s national public space
ByWilliam Thomas Allison
Pages 18

The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), America's "National Space," once catered solely to a narrative of great men and the ideals of the Republic for which they stood. Millions of Americans and people from around the world visit the memorials on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Considering the mental and emotional gymnastics required to bring divergent publics, entities, and other stakeholders together to weave a cohesive, effective national narrative through civic art, the transformation of the National Mall to a War Mall is astonishing. The process of war memorialization and commemoration is itself a battlefield of identity politics and competing voices, as "conflicting social groups assert conflicting memories" in the hope of establishing and then preserving a dominant memory. The war memorials on the National Mall in Washington, DC, then, play a central role in this story of nation and memory, trauma and heroism.