D.C.

Ukrainian memorial controversy, some say it’s unsightly and unsafe

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There’s controversy swirling around a new memorial planned for downtown Washington. People aren’t upset about the location, the cost or symbolism of the Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Manmade Famine. They’re upset about the direction that the memorial will be facing.

"Ukrainian Flag" © 2005 by phault via Creative Commons

The memorial plaza will be located near Union Station at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, North Capitol and F streets. One side will be a place to learn about the famine and reflect. The other side will be 6 feet of blank wall facing restaurants, hotels and the U.S. Capitol.

"I don't mind putting a monument there,” said Danny Coleman, owner of Dubliner Irish Pub. “But having a blank wall facing us and the capitol, it's rude and bad architecture."

The memorial will pay tribute to millions of Ukrainians who died of starvation between 1932 and 1933.

D.C. officials who opposed the memorial design say it isn’t the best use of public space.

"It could be a safety hazard,” noted Tommy Wells, D.C. Council, Ward 6. “It's a place to hide behind with a lot of unsuspecting tourists in the area by Union Station."

The memorial was first approved by Congress six years ago. The money to pay for it is being raised by the Ukrainian government.

 

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