To the Arts Editor:

I was delighted with Blake Gopnik's essay on the National World War II Memorial in the May 23 Arts section. I lived in the Netherlands during the war and spent a good part of conflict hiding to avoid having to work in the German war machinery. I have thanked every American soldier I met for his service.

But the design of the memorial is an absolute horror. All you have to imagine is a swastika in each of the wreaths and you have exactly the Albert Speer style used in the Third Reich.

It looks to me as if the concept was driven by vengeance of the old-school architects against Maya Lin, who created the Vietnam War Memorial, something that really touches you.



To the Arts Editor:

I appreciate Blake Gopnik's unsentimental assessment of the World War II Memorial.

I walked from my restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue a few weeks ago to show the Mall to a friend who had not visited Washington before.

The White House was unavailable, screened from the street by a thick green curtain.

The Washington Monument was unavailable, surrounded by a fence that kept us a quarter of a mile from its base.

We were, however, able to see the WWII monument, and I wished that had been covered. Gray, generic, obscure, uninspiring.

It's good Gopnik said these things.



Letters should be sent to Arts Editor, Style Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. E-mail should be sent to Please include a daytime and nighttime phone number and an address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.