This show uses Dealey Plaza, the site of President Kennedy’s assassination, to explore how we interact with a place where something historic occurred. It counterpoints the prosaic nature of this quiet intersection at the edge of a city with the remarkable, and remarkably resonant, event that took place there. "Intersection" asks us to explore where the significance and power of this historic event resides. Is it in the brick and stone, grass and trees of the intersection? Or is it in us and our "intersection" with the event? 3 Minutes.
"REFLECTIONS on the WALL" Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D.C.
This powerful memorial to the Vietnam War is a moving experience for those who visit it. The Wall is polished black stone, etched with the names of those killed in the war, and it reflects us as we look at it. And in those reflections, we find ourselves merging with the names of the dead and wondering about those deaths. Wondering about ourselves, our country, our ideals, our policies. In our reflections on the wall we search for meaning for a war whose ambiguity and pain haunt us still. This simple memorial crystallizes the anguish of an era, and in its chronicaling of death makes us reflect on life. 6 Minutes.
"TOUCHSTONE" The Civil Rights Memorial Montgomery Alabama
The struggle for civil rights in America goes on. This memorial with its carved names, events and running water, is a "touchstone" for the whole movement. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by many, of the unfinished business of the movement, and of the themes of pain and healing that are so much a part of race relations in our country.
This show presents the extraordinarily eloquent reminiscences of Peggy Steele Clay, a black school teacher from Alabama. After providing a context for her words through brief sequences about racism and the Civil Rights era, the show focuses on her emotional soliloquy about the memorial. In it, she interprets its symbols and meaning as she recalls her personal experiences with racism and civil rights. 6 Minutes.
"MEMORIAL" The Korean War Veterans Memorial Washington, D.C.
The experiences of a Korean War veteran and writer-photographer Todd Gipstein are the focus of this piece. Veteran William McSweeny recalls his experiences during the war and interprets the meaning of the memorial. Todd Gipstein reflects on a visit to the memorial on a cold winter's day and his chance encounter with Mr. McSweeny. 6 Minutes.
The American Places films have been used extensively by the National Geographic Society as part of their Geography Education Program. Teachers have used them in classrooms across America. They are available on a single DVD. Please email Todd Gipstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order.