My Lai Massacre Memorial Proposal Outline

Introduction (Keaton) ~ introduce names = Alissa Nelson, Brady Evans, Walter Jankowski, Keaton Mohr ~ open with story (possible scenario) with attached photo > another day as a villager, getting ready to work a long day in the fields when you spot a group of foreign soldiers entering the town; what seems like a civil first encounter soon turns into a violent display that completely changed your day, ending in many of your family, friends, and neighbors brutal deaths; this was known as the My Lai Massacre, a shameful episode in American warfare that surfaced from the Vietnam War - Currently in the U.S., no distinctive memorial for the victims of the My Lai Massacre gives recognition to the victims of the brutal attack. ~ state thesis: The United States needs to bring awareness to its people by constructing a memorial representing the terrible killings that took place on March 16, 1968. SIGNIFICANCE: The younger generation of the U.S. is mostly unaware of the massacre. Many Americans will say that the massacre wasn’t a shameful episode in U.S. history and that memorials should be built for our accomplishments instead of our mistakes. However, it’s important to recognize our mistakes in war as to not repeat them again. Because most of the armed forces is comprised of the younger half of the U.S. population, it is important for the younger generation to know and understand the mistakes made in the past by U.S. soldiers. Background (Brady) ~ virtually there are no memorials dedicated to the My Lai Massacre in the U.S.; there is a memorial located near My Lai in Vietnam but it shows the pain and tragedy of the victims, not much about the event itself ~ As of now, there is a design for the memorial that is to be located in U.S. Objectives/Specific Aims (Brady) ~ The memorial should be placed in between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial on the same sidewalk that the Vietnam Women’s Memorial is on in Washington D.C.

~ This placement would allow the best chance for the younger generation to see it considering the fact that it would be among some of the greater memorials in the U.S. ~ Some people may say that placing this memorial so close to the Vietnam Veterans memorial would cause an uproar in the sense that the My Lai Massacre was one of the reasons why the Veterans didn’t get a glorified memorial. However, placing this memorial amongst the other Vietnam memorials would take a big step in foreign relations with Vietnam. It would show our maturity as a country by acknowledging our mistake and giving the victims commemoration that is equal to the Veterans and the Women that took part in the war. ~ The project should be completed by the spring of 2015 ~ Following the day of its completion, there shall be a scheduled date for the grand opening of the memorial as an attempt to draw people in to view the memorial and for it to gain popularity ~ The grand opening day and the memorial itself should have televised advertisements three months in advance in order to further gain awareness for the victims of the My Lai Massacre. Design and Feasibility (Keaton) ~ The design consists of a white marble archway that is eleven feet wide, ten feet deep, and fifteen feet high. The design slopes up and then down like a hill and underneath the archway, black smudges on the white marble represent a life lost in the massacre. ~ On the other side of the archway, a concrete circle will be surrounded by poppy flowers and rosemary bushes that represent death and remembrance, respectively. In the middle of the circle will be a dirt patch, where two sixteenfoot flags will stand, one with the American flag and one with the Vietnamese flag. ~ The costs of this project are projected to be under eight million dollars, since it’s a smaller project. This includes costs for the materials and wages and benefits for consultants and workers. Since this cost range is well under the budget, it will benefit your funding organization and still serve its purpose. We also ask for an additional two million dollars to maintain the memorial for the first couple of years. In comparison, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial budget was around eight million dollars, or eighteen million dollars in today’s dollars.

Methodology (Walter) ~ If we receive funding for the project, construction will begin in the spring of 2014. The concrete sidewalk and circle will be poured and shaped first, with the construction of the archway to follow after the concrete is hardened. A podium and another concrete slab will be placed in the middle of the circle, with the detailed history of the massacre on the podium and the two flags placed in the slab once concrete is hardened. A historian with prevalent knowledge on the My Lai Massacre will be hired to write a summary of the relevance of the event and how the proposed monument represents it. Once the concrete is stained and the archway is completed, the black smudges will be added to the archway and mulch will be put around the concrete circle, with the planting of the rosemary and poppy to follow. The method for adding the black smudges will be left up to the contractor. ~ We plan to contact the press to televise the grand opening of the memorial which will provide free advertising and create public awareness about the event. During the event we will have security guards to ensure the safety of all participants from anyone who is angry about the memorial. Historians will also be at the grand opening to provide the public with an even deeper understanding of why the event happened and the impacts it had on the nation. Counter Arguments (Alissa) ~ One probable argument from American citizens is why a Vietnam flag would be placed in the design. This is to balance the fact that we don’t support the massacre and we care about the Vietnamese victims. The showing of their flag will show that America wants to acknowledge our mistakes and that we respect the victims of the massacre. ~ Another probable argument is why we chose to construct an archway for the memorial instead of something different. The archway hides the smudge marks in the under side, representing how we tried to hide the event. The archway is a passageway that signifies the truth of the event and gives us an idea of the lives lost. Conclusion (Walter) ~ The intended outcome of the project is to bring awareness of the massacre to Americans. The event brought about a lot of controversy in the 1970’s but was quickly forgotten. The goal is to remind people of our mistakes and acknowledge the lives lost due to our mistake. ~ Your donation would be greatly appreciated and put to good use in the completion of our proposed memorial. In the event that you decide to donate your money towards our project, you can contact us at our central e-mail: kemohr1@iastate.edu. Many lives were lost in the My Lai Massacre and if you donate towards our project, we will ensure that those lives will not be forgotten.

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