Our national monuments dictate how, when, where, and what we are to feel as we imagine our nation, while archives function as memorials of objects and images that become sanctioned memories. As an example of how embedded this system of imposed remembrance is to our national psyche, note how we often take, retake, and preserve the same photographs of national sites. We repeat and reiterate decades of an established experience.
Memorials and archived objects assume the qualities of the systems that framed their production and that continues to endorse their preservation. These systems influence the way we interpret our past, interact with our present, and plan for our future. History and memory are not the same.
Unknowns invites a renegotiation of the meaning of the establishment and continued memorial of war in our nation's capital.
All of these images are in the public domain. They have been drawn from national and local archives. Depicted are the Lincoln Memorial, the Arlington Memorial Bridge that links the Lincoln Memorial with the Lee Custis House and Arlington National Cemetery, the Civil War Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, views from the Lee Custis House, the Lee Custis House, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.