A Memorial To Future Existential Horror

There’s something very spooky about this story from the Telegraph with the headline: Town erects blank war memorial ‘for future deaths’.

The memorial is in a town called Bradley Stokes, a place planned in the 1970s and whose construction began in 1987. As the Telegraph writes “The town did not exist in the first and second World Wars and no resident has been killed in military action to date.”

“Katherine Robinson, local scout group leader and one of the memorial organisers, said: “I fully appreciate that Bradley Stoke is a new town and it was just green fields and farmland when the first and second World Wars were being fought.

“But we know unfortunately that conflicts aren’t just consigned to these wars but are ongoing and so we’re thinking about the future as well.

The war memorial consists of pillars that will be adorned with blank plaques inscribed only with the words “We Will Remember Them”.

The tense here is a strange mixture of the future and the past. It suggests the idea of remembering something that hasn’t yet happened. In other words a remembrance of things yet to come.

Of course, it’s the type of rememberance that makes it so chilling. It suggests a fatalism that sons and daugthers of Bradley Stokes will inevitably die in some war, somewhere, sometime in the future.

Monuments usually address the past. They usually address a specific event. Here though it’s blankness makes it a monument to an unspecific, existential horror of the future.

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