A Monumental History

You must realize that if we put aside 4 or 5 Gigs of hard
drive space for this file, it wouldn't be enough to explain
every feature of this topic. So we are going to give you a
whirlwind tour of what a monument is, the different types,
and a brief history. Keep in mind that this is a casual
interpretation from. The author is well versed in stone
design and the memorial trade but is no archeologist.

Every generation, every culture and every locale creates
monuments differently. Conceptually the term MONUMENT lingers
differently in different people's minds. For example: Many of
you think of a monument as something you visit when you take
a tour of Washington DC, or Rome. And you are right.
Many of you think of a gravestone as NOT a monument, but
as a grave marker or headstone.

A monument is a lasting symbol of a moment. That is
all the definition any monument carries. We start shaping
that definition when we change the word to MEMORIAL. Yet that
still means the same thing. It does, however, focus our
thoughts to human moments and sometimes community events.
A national monument will recall a moment when honor, glory
or self-sacrifice is remembered. A family monument will
bear evidence to the duration of a family. And a personal
monument - usually called a memorial - represents a life
that was lived and is no more. Normally, the monument will
mark the resting place of the body that lived that life.

A monument does not represent death - that was never
the purpose of a monument or memorial. Even when artists,
movie-makers or stage prop-men employ a symbol that will
invoke death, whether for mystery, drama or gore, they will
always place a symbol or symbols on the monument to denote
it as separate from death, such as the old RIP or a name
with dates, etc. This is because instinctively we see a
slab of stone as eternal, enduring and immortal. Remember
the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey? A monument points
backward toward LIFE. It stands as a mark well earned and well
done. It is meant to lift our spirits beyond the pall of
the grave or loss of a great time and send us back to where
life was better and more promising. It is a symbol
reminding all of us that moments do not last forever, but
they DO HAPPEN and DO LAST, if only for a short time.

Go to:

Part 2, The Taj Mahal. | Part 3, Newgrange & Stonehenge. | Part 4, Nile Valley. | Part 5, Persepolis. | Part 6, Parthenon. | Part 7, Pont Du Gard. | Part 8, The Colosseum & St. Augustine & MASONS. | Part 9, Renaissance. | Part 10, Miss Liberty. |

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