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These two vastly different approaches to remembrance are highly revealing of the investment of meaning in built form. Memorials are hard to get just right, as the national debate in the late 1990s over Providence-architect Friedrich St Florian’s World War II Memorial on The Mall in Washington attests. Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge’s limestone gateway in the form of a Roman triumphal arch was built to honor the memory of forty-three Brown men who died in World War I. Its dry handling of classicism vacillates between the almost-too-calculated reserve seemingly appropriate for a memorial and the weariness of yet another essay using an oft-repeated form. Nearby, to the northwest and within the quadrangle known as Lincoln Field, is a far more effective response, Richard Fleishner’s simple granite-and-metal-lattice monument dedicated to the many more who gave their lives in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Sited under a mature tree and providing support for climbing roses, it is a quietly powerful memorial that modestly, hauntingly, and intimately integrates itself into the space that surrounds it and the experience of any who encounter and contemplate it. Its unassuming quality invests it with a power that Soldiers’ Gateway cannot achieve.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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