The reporter captures the hideous motivation behind the memorial:
In early 2005, public officials and civic leaders in Wheeling, W.Va., embarked on an endeavor they hoped would transform part of the city's downtown and bring millions of tourists and their dollars into town.At least the city fathers spared us the pain of a hypocritical "We seek to honor the dead." But in dodging spoken hypocrisy, they opted for monumentalizing it by building a structure that would have memorialized nothing except their own greed and moral depravity.
To get a sense of how crazy the victims of the heritage tourism fever can get, consider the attraction that was going to draw "millions of tourists and their dollars" ...
The National Civil War Memorial as planned would be 90 feet in diameter and contain a series of bronze panels mounted on stone that would depict historical tableaus in bas-relief. Also included would be 32 portraits of notable civilians and military leaders of the Civil War and statues of ordinary Union and Confederate soldiers.At least the sculptor had confidence in its drawing power:
"This was basically a no-brainer approach to bringing in millions of dollars to the state and Wheeling."A "no-brainer" that was also "no ethics" - this was a small project designed on the cheap that could not attract enough (minimal) funding without Congressional backing - this was a failed memorial that will soon be forgotten. The madness that fueled it will be with us for some time, however.
p.s. The committee's website is still up.