To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
In considering a war memorial the Alumni Association and the Associated Harvard Clubs should consider the aims and ideals for which the war was fought. Those whom the memorial will honor would not, I believe, have thought either a plaque or an activities center an adequate memorial to their intentions. A plaque can only list their names, doing little to further their intentions. An activities center, though badly needed, is even less appropriate, and can, after all, be built by the University.
It might be both more instructive and inspiring to use this money to help rebuild some university in the war area, or to aid its students. There is no need to state a more specific purpose than that; if the main principle is accepted, it will be easy to find cases where it may be applied. Surely such an action would memorialize these men with far greater relevance to their ideals and the present crisis than would an activities center. A small plaque could be set up in Memorial Church to tell what the money accomplished, and surely this would be a more living and generous reminder than any list of names. The need is greater, the inspiration is greater, and the effects must also be greater.
No doubt the proposal has been made before and better expressed, but we need to be reminded that the choice is not limited to two projects. We do not have to choose between sterility and incongruity. If the memorial can help others to obtain the education which is so easily obtained here, it must mean more as a positive and idealistic act than any activities center or plaque. We can do better than that, and we are responsible for doing so. Shorman Hawkins '52