Memorial to a hero does not cheapen a library's lawn
"We're not Disneyland, we want to maintain the dignity within and without the building. With all due respect to Mr. Baker, he deserves to be honored but he deserves to be honored elsewhere."
Those were the words of Falmouth Library Trustee Marilyn Zacks speaking a week ago Monday at a Falmouth Selectman's meeting as reported by the Falmouth Bulletin.
Ms. Zacks was one of the library trustees who spoke against the Falmouth Veterans Council's proposal to place a granite bench in memory of Navy veteran Richard Baker on the front lawn of the library campus.
The Falmouth Enterprise further reported Ms. Zacks as saying that there is a sense of dignity surrounding libraries that she did not want to cheapen with displays on the library lawn.
The coldest, most unpatriotic remark by a elected official this year
Those remarks by Library Trustee Zacks ought to be memorialized as some of the coldest, most unpatriotic remarks uttered by an elected official on Cape Cod this year.
Memorial Day is just five weeks away. While Ms. Zacks perhaps honors Memorial Day as the start of Falmouth's infamous traffic jams, some of us still pause on that day to remember our nation's fallen heroes - generations of men and women who laid down their lives so Ms. Zacks can share her views on contemporary ignorance at a selectman's meeting.
The people of Falmouth paid for that campus with their hard-earned money and Falmouth's veterans paid for it with their blood.
We understand that there are personalities and politics involved in the acrimony between the Falmouth Library Trustees and the Veterans Council. We also believe that every square inch of the library campus belongs to the people of Falmouth. The people of Falmouth paid for that campus with their hard-earned money and Falmouth's veterans paid for it with their blood.
According to published reports, the proposed memorial bench is to be placed on the corner of the library lawn closest to Main Street and Shore Street Extension. That hardly sounds like "clutter" or anything that would interfere with functions held on the lawn throughout the summer.
Heaven forbid, someone might actually borrow a book from the moldering library collection and sit on that bench to read it. Would that offend the dignity of the library trustees?
As irrelevant as libraries have become in the twenty-first century, we find most public libraries on the Cape to be open, inviting places. Indeed, one of the readers who commented on The Enterprise's article mentioned how she loved to use the front lawn of the library to read and access the free wifi whenever she was visiting Falmouth.
We find this turf war all the more unbecoming when we hear the library trustees present themselves as worried about the unchecked erection of statues and monuments on the lawn. Sounds like someone has a bad case of priapism.
As far as we're concerned, there is nothing more dignified for a library's front lawn than a memorial to veterans. With the large number of young children that make up a library's clientele, such monuments are a wonderful way for them to learn more about what it means to be a citizen of our great nation.
Moreover, a granite bench is a far more fitting memorial than these makeshift roadside tributes that have been popping up all over the Cape lately. While many of the roadside displays become faded and tattered as folks move on to other projects, the Falmouth Veterans Council has maintained its monuments and preserved their dignity - and the particular veteran they hope to honor did most of that maintenance for decades.
Cape Cod towns have done a wonderful job maintaining their war memorials over the centuries. Our guess is that the proposed grant bench honoring Richard Baker will be there in pristine condition long after the Falmouth Library has succumbed to the mating sounds of dinosaurs and been consigned to the dustbin of history.
Ironic that he fought agaist the book-burners in World War Two
Ironically, the Navy veteran to be honored by the proposed bench is of a generation that fought against the Nazi's in World War II. You remember that Nazi's, those goose-stepping Neanderthals who loved to pillage libraries and burn books? It is even more ironic that too many of our young people right now are giving their lives in Afghanistan to fight the book burners of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Falmouth Library Trustees don't want veteran memorials turning the library campus into a Disney resort. How despicable is that?
We encourage the good people of Falmouth to contact their selectmen in support of the Veterans Council's placement of memorials on the library campus. All of the selectmen's email addresses are included on the linked page.
We encourage Marilyn Zacks, Otis Porter, Jr. and any of the other Falmouth Library Trustees who agree with them to spend some time getting in touch with their inner patriot - right after they submit their resignations. Anyone who considers veteran memorials reminiscent of "Disneyland" is unfit to serve in elected office.
- See our previous Editorials here.