Letter to the editor: Reader suggests alternate artwork for plaza

Late afternoon sun filtered through the trees at the Josh Davis Memorial Plaza, dedicated in November 2010 to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Josh Davis of Perry, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in April 2010.

To the editor:

Regarding the proposed mural in Josh Davis Memorial Plaza, if memory serves me correctly, there was a mural on that same wall not so many years ago. Then they painted over it and spent who knows how many thousands of dollars to install the trellis and plant the trees alongside the wall.

Now, they want to tear half that out to put up a patriotic mural when there are already scads of flags, plaques and memorials all over town. Personally, I think this is getting to be too much. Some may call it patriotic but I think it’s obsessive.

Still and all, it’s not my intent to dishonor the young man or diminish his sacrifice. I was glad when they built the plaza though I had my doubts about the bocci ball court. Between the plaza and the courtyard across the alley, the city has a nice and mellow area downtown where folks can chill out.

There is that nice plaque out front with the young man’s likeness as a Marine. There is a flagpole installed at the southeast corner sporting Old Glory. All that is well and fine. As far as I’m concerned, anything more along those lines would be overkill.

I don’t think we should be fixing something that isn’t broken. The likeness of the National Flag as suggested by the sketch would be redundant. I too am concerned about the new display possibly turning out a bit gaudy.

I think the trees and the trellis are quite attractive as they are. I’m not convinced the changes would be half as nice as what we have now. Regardless, I think I have a better idea.

Before Josh became a U.S. Marine, he was a young man. There are already umpteen references, events and memorials commemerating his military service. Like I said, they’re all well and fine. No problem. I don’t think we need any more. I think I have a better idea.

There is enough space on that wall between the trees to paint a lifesize, head-to-foot likeness of Josh. Why can’t we celebrate the Josh most people knew before he signed up for the Marines? He was a Marine for only a short while during his all-too-abreviated life.

I suggest painting a likeness of Josh as he looked to his friends and family while he was in high school. Why can’t we celebrate his life before he enlisted? Give him a memorial just for being a young human being. Josh did indeed have a life before becoming a U.S. Marine.

Why can’t we celebrate that?

Just paint him proud and tall as most people here knew him, perhaps installing a small fllodlight on a timer to illuminate him during the night.

As for the trees, please leave them be. Patriotism is all well and fine, but it’s a bit much when there are more flagpoles downtown than trees. We’ve lost too many trees downtown anyway. When they lose their importance and value, so does human life. This idea was perhaps never better expressed than by Joyce Kilmer in his 1913 poem, “Trees.”

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Nick Eakins


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