A nation is defined by its people, culture and the history that has shaped it. And, prefer it or not, war is a big part of both, culture as well as history. These war memorials built in the honour of the martyrs of the respective battles spread across the world send a solemn message to the present and the future generations about bravery, patriotism, and courage as well as human cruelty. By Shubhanjana Das

1. 9/11 Memorial: 

Ever since September 11, 2011, when the 9/11 memorial was opened, the 3,000 people who were killed in the disastrous attack on the World Trade Center have found a home in the heart of New York where they had lost their lives. This very ground has two reflecting grounds surrounded by bronze panels. The names of the people who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks have been inscribed and immortalised for life right here. The ‘survivor tree’ is one of the many amongst the hundreds that surround the pool and is named so for unlike many Americans, it survived the blast and nurtured back to health. 

2. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: 

The architecture of this highly significant and symbolic memorial was designed by a Yale student to be built in Washington D.C. It is modern, minimalistic, lacks ornamentation and is solely dedicated to the 58,000 missing in action (MIA) or killed in action (KIA) of the American forces who took part in the historic Vietnam War. The site opened floors to visitors in the year 1983. There is also a Women’s Memorial, which honours the 2,65,000 women who served in the wear, symbolised by three nurses and a wounded soldier.  

3. Holocaust Memorial: 

The Holocaust, as we know it, is one of the darkest memories that humankind has had to remember. It witnessed the death of millions and taught humankind a lesson of the unimaginable cruelty we are capable of. Located in Berlin, Germany, the memorial opened its gates on May 10, 2005. The Holocaust Memorial honours the 500,000 Soviet Jews murdered during Hitler’s regime. Besides the 2,711 vertical concrete slabs of varying heights spread over an area of 19,000 sq km, the memorial also has an Information Centre where information and biographies of the victims can be found.    

4. Choeung Ek: 

One million people killed during the Khmer Rouge regime have found a resting place here at Choeung Ek in Cambodia. The memorial was opened in 1988 and is an epitome of how a grave site can be turned to something as sacred as a dome-shaped Buddhist monument. As a result of bodies unearthed from the pits, you can find an acrylic glass that displays over 5,000 human skulls and human bones can also be found on site. This disturbing sight is metaphoric of the nature of the disaster inflicted by man on man. 

5. Memorial To The Victims Of Communism: 

This memorial is not built in honour of soldiers who died in a war but victims who suffered in an era of suppression and oppression during the rule of communism. Built in Prague, Czech Republic, it is dedicated to all those who were the prisoners of the communism from 1948 to 1989. The thing that captivates visitors the most in this memorial is its optical illusion, which makes the sculptures appear to be more decayed as the physical distance between the viewer and the sculpture increases.