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Memorial Hall Transept Should Honor The Dead

By Harry R. Lewis

To the editors:

Reasonable people can differ about whether the so-called “foyer of Sanders Theater” truly has “lackluster ambience,” as stated in a recent Crimson article (“Is the New Fly-by Taking Off?” news, October 4, 2006). For many other visitors since 1874, the Memorial Hall transept has been a place of moving beauty. What is unarguable is that it was never meant to be a fast-food eatery. It was and is Harvard’s memorial to the 136 Harvard affiliates who gave their lives for the preservation of the Union during the Civil War. For that reason, the College has deliberately used the space only for functions consistent with its reverential origins—such as blood drives and Knep’s “Deep Wounds” installation last spring. The College must have selected the transept for food service only after all the more appropriate alternatives, such as the Science Center, had been ruled out, but perhaps it can apply some further imagination to the problem. The “hard marble floors” which make the transept a poor lunchroom reflect the marble plaques bearing the names of the dead, and the sooner fly-by flies on and the space again honors their memory, the better for everyone.


Cambridge, Mass.

October 9, 2006

The writer is McKay professor of computer science.

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