Readers Respond to the June 2022 Issue

Your feedback on the World War I memorial and the Smithsonian’s new ethical collecting policy

The Art of War

I wonder if a display of World War I’s real horrors might be more fitting (“Flesh, Blood & Bronze,” June 2022). The broken bodies, the human limbs scattered throughout the mud-soaked trenches, the soldiers reclining on the corpses of their comrades, the shredded dead suspended on barbed wire and the shattered psyches that came home might make for a more useful memorial, not to war but to its folly. Honoring those who died does not require that we ignore the madmen who sent a generation into the slaughterhouse called the Great War. —Allen J. Wiener | Clearwater, Florida

I found this piece to be remarkable in reducing the making of a major work of art into the human activity that it is and secondly in underscoring the messaging of the tableau as a vision that respectfully destroys the sentimentality that surrounds the act of war. —Steve Robin | Leesburg, Virginia

Jeff MacGregor’s “Flesh, Blood & Bronze” is one of the best stories I’ve read in years. His evocative descriptions brought me into the work. The emotions I felt were enough to bring tears to my eyes—for the theme, but also for the descriptions of what art is. —Steve Smith | Rocklin, California

A memorial to World War I in the capital is long overdue. It should also be noted that Congress authorized the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. First opened in 1926, it is dedicated to remembering the Great War and understanding its enduring impact on the global community. —​​​​​​​Bill Sherriff | Leawood, Kansas

Artifact Ownership

Returning ill-collected artifacts to their home of origin is commendable (“Ethical Collecting,” June 2022). As a part of the return, I hope the Smithsonian will use advanced techniques to capture information about each piece. Such historical and cultural treasures can be lost again to wars, pillaging and theft. —​​​​​​​Kip Louise McVay | Gainesville, Georgia

A Deeper Meaning

Reading “The Real Pinocchio” (June 2022) and learning the truth behind the story brings it in line with other fairy tales. Most were originally written as allegories for political or social causes. They have an underlying message that gets garbled over time. I am glad to learn of another meaning of this story, since I have long felt that it is one of the darker ones. —​​​​​​​Linda Devor | Simpsonville, South Carolina

From Big Screen to World Stage

I had no idea that Shirley Temple Black was a pioneer in the environmental movement (“Role of a Lifetime,” June 2022). She was a strong woman who really made a difference. I don’t think people took her seriously at first, but she showed them she wasn’t the little tap-dancing 4-year-old anymore! —​​​​​​​Paul C. Waid | Merrill, Wisconsin

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