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Monument and Memorial are two words that are often confused due to the appearing similarity between them in terms of their meanings and connotations though, strictly speaking, there is some difference between the two words. It is interesting to note that both memorial and monument have become places of tourist interest in different cities of various countries. A fort or a castle can be called a monument. On the other hand, a fort or a castle cannot be called as a memorial. Why this difference happens will be explained in the article. So, if you are not sure how to differentiate between monument and memorial proceed reading the article.

What is a Monument?

A monument is a structure, statue or a building that is built to honor someone notable or a special event. Monuments, in other words, are built to commemorate a notable person or an event. Moreover, a monument is constructed as part of architectural beauty. Monument is said to have a broader concept than a memorial.

The Arc de Triomphe in France, Empire State Building and the Washington Monument in America are all examples for monuments. The Arc de Triomphe is for celebrating the victory of the soldiers. Empire State Building is a monument because it commemorates the booming American economy at the period. Washington Monument was built after the death of George Washington, the first president of America. However, though it was built after the death of the president, it was built more to symbolize his ideals. That is why it is referred to as a monument. So, you can see that a monument is built to honor a person as well as to mark a special event.


What is a Memorial?

A memorial is usually built as a tomb for the dead king or a monarch in the old time. Now, a memorial is a structure built to remember a person who has died. Sometimes it points out to a shrine or a gravestone. For example, if you look at a memorial built for the soldiers who have given up their lives during a major war, then it would mean that the memorial was constructed to celebrate the uniqueness and the value of those dead soldiers. That type of a structure is there to keep the memory of the people alive.

Memorials too, at times, pronounce architectural importance about them, but they do not give much importance to the adherence of architectural details in their construction. Their primary motive is to extol the service rendered by people from certain walks of life such as soldiers, politicians, presidents, and other illustrious men and women from different fields of life. Since memorials mostly accompany the names of people after their death, one could say that memorials are attached to death and destruction.

Examples for memorials are World Trade Center Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. All of these are examples for things built in remembrance of people after they died. World Trade Center Memorial is for those who died in the World Trade Center terrorist attack in 2001. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is to remember Martin Luther King Jr. who was an important activist in demanding equal rights for black people in America. Lincoln Memorial is in memory of Abraham Lincoln one of the most famous presidents in the United States history. He was the president who put an end to the enslavement of black people.


When a body is buried in a cemetery, some form of marker—commonly referred to as a "headstone"—is often placed at the head of the grave to identify who is buried there. The marker usually states the name of the person who died and the dates of birth and death, and may include other personal information, images, or a quote, called an epitaph.

How to Clean a Granite Headstone/Tombstone

Begin by looking the headstone over to check for signs of damage. If there is cracking, delaminating, flaking, or other weak areas, proceed with caution. Do not put more stress on an area that is already weak or it will lead to further damage. A dirty headstone is better than one that is broken or damaged further.

It is best to use a non-ionic cleaner to clean headstones. These cleaners are available at various locations that sell photography, janitorial and conservations supplies. They do not produce the salts that can be harmful and leave additional staining. They also aid in the wetting of masonry so that the soil and dirt can be removed more effectively. Choose your cleaning product carefully and always test a small, hidden area first to ensure it creates the desired results. Though the specialized cleaners may be more expensive, they are more effective and better designed for cleaning these stones than regular household granite cleaners.

Fill your bucket with water. If there is a water source nearby, a hose will offer a great tool for rinsing as you work. If no water supply is available, bring several buckets along to keep clean water available at all times.

Combine one ounce of the non-ionic cleaner with 5 gallons of water.

Moisten the sponges and brushes with the water and scrub the areas gently.

Work from the bottom of the stone to the top to avoid streaking. Rinse frequently to remove any running water.

If there are areas with heavy build-up, mix one part liquid vegetable glycerin with one part water. Glycerin is available at most pharmacies or in the baking aisle of grocery stores.

Make a poultice with the glycerin mixture and porcelain clay.

Apply it to the surface where the build-up exists and cover with plastic wrap.

Tape down the edges to keep the area moist. Allow this to set for several hours to overnight.

Return and remove the plastic wrap.

Gently scrape away the softened build-up with a wooden spatula or scrub it with a non-metallic scrubber.

Zinc “white bronze” monuments

According to the International Southern Cemetery Gravestones Association, the best materials for gravestones include granite, bronze, stainless steel. Those materials are very durable and have good longevity. That being said, there was a time period where zinc became a popular choice for gravestones.

The Smithsonian points out that the Monumental Bronze Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, (and its subsidiaries in the United States and Canada) started creating grave monuments that were made of zinc. This began in the 1870s and became a trend for a while.

People purchased zinc gravestones for several reasons. Grave monuments made of zinc were less expensive than ones made of more traditional materials. The zinc monuments were marketed as “white bronze”, which made it sound rather fancy. People liked that the “white bronze” gravestones looked as though they were made of stone.

The Monumental Bronze Company used a unique technology that included a sandblasted finish to imitate the mat appearance of stone. They created thousands of markers, custom-made effigies of the dead, off-the-shelf statues of Faith, Hope and Charity, and enormous Civil War memories crowned with statues of soldiers.

“White bronze” monuments could be customized with scrollwork, wreaths of roses, and family names that appeared to be carved from tree branches. Plaques could be bolted onto the monument, and taken off and updated over time.

The zinc monuments appeared to have been made of stone. The advantage was that the zinc didn’t oxidize from brown to green (as bronze monuments do). Zinc monuments don’t end up with lichen growing on the surface, a common problem with granite monuments.

The disadvantage of gravestones made of zinc is the color. They are a bluish hue, which some people may feel is “cold”. Unlike grave monuments that were made of granite or marble, the zinc gravestones are hollow. You can knock on them and tell by the sound that they are hollow inside.

Zinc gravestones are durable, but not unbreakable. The Smithsonian notes that the most common damage to zinc cemetery monuments is breakage of the brittle metal and separation at the seams where components were joined at the foundry. The zinc might become discolored over time due to metallic repair techniques such as soldering or by using epoxy or polyester resins.

Some smaller zinc monuments might start to bulge when their foundations are inadequate. The Smithsonian says that people have tried to repair them by filling them with concrete to provide the lacking support. The Smithsonian does not recommend doing that – and suggests they be repaired with new stainless steel armatures instead.

information obtained from

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