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We’ve all seen them, those items of armament from wars fought long ago displayed in the public squares of small towns in rural America. They can be seen in courthouse lawns, at meeting houses of Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion organizations, airports, etc. They are visible reminders of battles fought, victories won, adversaries overcome, sacrifices made and “heroes proved through liberating strife,” as Katherine Lee Bates so skillfully memorialized in the lyric of “America, the Beautiful.”
Some communities display artillery that dates from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I. In others, like Brownstown, Ind., a passing motorist will note the presence of a World War II Sherman tank in the courthouse lawn. I have seen fighter aircraft from the Korean War and Vietnam War eras on display at community airports.
In Carrollton, the U.S. Army National Guard Armory displays a retired, self-propelled howitzer similar to those used by local veterans in Vietnam in the late 1960s.
These artifacts are displayed to remind us of our patriotic spirit, of our nation’s military strength and the strength of our resolve as a people to protect the Democratic way of life envisioned by our nation’s Fathers—a dream we celebrate with the liberties we enjoy every day.
We, then, should be willing to spend some time and money on a facelift for our proud artillery piece in the Trimble County courthouse square. I have noted during public events, such as Memorial Day services, the Bedford Bash and the Trimble County Apple Festival that the fieldpiece is in dire need of rust removal and new paint. We often become blind to the eyesores in our own backyards. But visitors, especially veterans, passing through the community take note of such things.
We have a very attractive courthouse, and courthouse square, including the antiquity of the historic stone jail. But that one item in the courthouse yard desperately needs immediate attention.
Which organization, club, church or school group will be the first to step forward and volunteer to give our artillery a makeover? Anyone?