For Veteran’s Day – Report from Draxtor Despres

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Life4u reporter Draxtor Despres produced a story when the Vietnam War Memorial was created in Second Life last year. His piece also discusses the state of the War in Iraq at that time, and it’s interesting to look back and remember how much the Wall memorial touched all of us who experienced it in-world (in Second Life), and what a powerful reminder it was of the actual human cost of the Vietnam War. All the more timely considering our ongoing conflicts around the world.

I recommend that you visit the Wall in world if you can. I think it’s sometimes difficult for those who have not fully immersed into a virtual environment like Second Life to understand the emotional power that these spaces can have. I think, though, if any human emotion is truly universal, it must surely be grief, and the pixelated etchings of thousands of names along a long somber wall is beyond touching, even in virtual form. The seemingly unending list of individual names reminds us that each person on that list was someone’s son or daughter, mother or father.. and the virtual representation of it doesn’t detract from its simple message.

Experiencing it in Second Life was not the same as when I went in-person with my mother and my sister to DC – a rainy day that slicked the memorial and made the surface as reflective as a mirror, so that I saw my own face overlaid with the names of the soldiers on the wall – but it was an equally moving experience. Instead of sharing that collective sense of grief with just my family, in the virtual world I was sharing it with people all over the terra world – who no matter our nations or affiliations or politics – all abhor the cost that war brings.

Thanks to Draxtor for this timely reminder, and to all of those who contributed to the creation of this memorial in Second Life.

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