I loved the Aug. 27 Style article “America’s public square,” but it didn’t explore the Mall as it is right now. On Aug. 24, during a commemoration of the March on Washington, there were fences all around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and along Constitution Avenue. Finding a group I was supposed to meet meant joining the huge, slow-moving crowd on the only street where people were allowed to enter the Mall, at the eastern end of the reflecting pool, and then threading through crowds constrained by fences and railings, some of which came almost all the way out to the pool itself.
If, as the article said, “this space has had a symbolic relationship with public discourse in this country,” the current relationship would seem to be one of distrust and arbitrary limitation on the government’s part.
If the National Park Service was expecting an angry crowd, its fences could have made people even angrier. Trying to move about was extremely frustrating.