Freedom Isn't Free Memorial
Unveiled in 2006, its backers said it was the first monument in the U.S. to American soldiers killed in the conflict formerly known as the War on Terror. Officially titled the "Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial," its dedication plaque concludes with an exhortation, in big letters, "Freedom Isn't Free!," which struck us as a much better name for the thing.
The monument is designed as a round fountain whose pool pavement is a map of the Earth. A large bronze soldier, dressed in a loose commando jacket and slouch hat, kneels atop a pillar that juts skyward out of North America. He gazes down toward the fountain's center, where a plume of water erupts out of North Africa. Smaller jets of spritzing water circle the big one, adding to turbulence across the globe.
Are we stating the obvious by seeing those plumes as geopolitical flare-ups -- and Fortress America is ready to call in a fire solution on the latest trouble spot? Or is there a happier, glass half-full POV: those are fountains of emerging democracy, and the soldier is a benevolent plumber, happy to observe his pipes in working new world order....