Memorials are important historical touchstones, linking the past to the present, thereby fostering remembrance and respect for the sacrifice of those who fought, died, participated in or were affected by a war or conflict. Whitinsville’s Civil War monument in Memorial Park is an important part of Northbridge’s heritage and historical landscape. It also serves to remind us of the town’s only Medal of Honor recipient, David P. Casey.
It’s disgraceful, therefore, that the town has allowed this memorial to be desecrated and overshadowed by its very own obtrusive electronic road sign.
This distasteful structure first appeared on the grass in front of the monument for over one week to inform us about an upcoming open house, and remained for two days after the open house. Now it has reappeared, on the heals of expressed complaints over its introduction, to advise residents to view the town’s website and learn how to prepare for an upcoming weather event, as if we’ve never experienced such in New England and lack t.v., radio, print and on-line news sources.
While our sidewalks, buildings and fences are weed laden and our roads crumbling, those charged with caring for those things, as well as Memorial Park, have shown great insensitivity and disrespect to those who gave their lives for our freedom.
I strongly support informing the public early and often with as much data as reasonably possible. One such approach is the reverse 911 phone system that has been used many times to inform about bridge work, bank scams, and missing persons. I’m sure it can be used to advise about high winds and rain as well. Additionally, the town manager grants permission to citizens to utilize an outdoor bulletin board in front of town hall and meeting after meeting the Selectmen vote to allow persons to hang banners over Church St. Perhaps a gaudy sign can serve a meaningful purpose on town owned land, but Memorial Park is clearly not the place.
Sure, there will always be conjured up and rationalized reasons to place an industrial “in your face” flashing electronic highway billboard in front of the Civil War monument. They will all start with “what a premier location to” and end with a myriad of seemingly important events, reminders, action items, or warnings, resulting in permanency on the Park. None of which, of course, can ever justify such irreverence and violation of the sanctity and significance of the monument and Memorial Park in total.
While many place wreaths and flags at the foot of war memorials, Northbridge has chosen to place in front of their most grand memorial a large, orange, paint chipped, metal, programmable message board informing residents to “prepare for torm". Yes, Northbridge, your “s” is out of line.
Shelley J. Buma