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Best Multi-Purpose Use For a Monument To The Past

The world is full of monuments, built in memory of great people and great events. Although many of the great monuments are often over-crowded with people all trying to find that solitary moment of contemplation where they can honor those people or events who are being memorialized and re-connect with the past. On the other hand, these great monuments often take a lot of space that could be used more productively. When they named the huge expanse of grassy areas surrounding the Washington Monument "The Mall", they got the name right, just not the use.

As it stands the largest mall in the world, the "Mall of the Americas" is in the mid-west(I'm not much of a mall person, so I think it may be in Minnesota), but with a little bit of forsight, the largest mall in the world could have been in our nation's capital, where it belongs. Had we used that vast expense of grass in the center of our nation's capital, there would have been no need to name it the "Mall of the Americas". That is only necessary if you're in the mid-west as The Mall of Minnesota would hardly attract many shoppers from around the world. But The Mall....that name, coupled with being in the nation's capital would make those monuments both awe-inspiring and practical. Reflect on our nation's great history as we shop.... The past meets the present.....

Unfortunately, monument building, practicality and foresight do not go hand in hand in hand. Most monument designers have grandiose single-minded plans for their monument. The idea of combining the memorial with a more practical use has not for the most part been an idea who's time has come.

But Carrboro, The Athens of America,(if you read the article, buried deep within you'll find that reference) with it's liberal mentality that's always looking to plan for the future is a leader in multipurpose monument construction and renovation(Read about The Bruceway and The Statue of the Dancing Bruce) is leading the rest of the country in Community Overpopulation Exponential Growth Planning. Despite a few hiccups on the way(605 Main Street), we should all be proud of our little town and our hearts should swell with pride as we drive past the Town Hall, home of the zoning office that allows us to grow as we do.

If you take a ride down Lloyd St, you'll see one of Carrboro's greatest monuments of the past. A very moving memorial, yet extremely practical. I'm talking about Rice's Glass' World War II POW Memorial. They have taken a part of their property and dedicated it to the memory of our soldiers who spent time in German POW Camps(Think Hogan's Heros and The Great Escape). When you come down the driveway, the wire fences with razor wire on the top and the blue buildings which are modeled after the dormitory style facilities in the German Stalags creates an awe-inspiring view to say the least.

I recently went there to meditate and pay my respects, when it suddenly dawned on me that they had produced one of the most practical memorials the world has ever seen. As it was afterhours, the gates were locked, but inside the gates I recognized the fleet of Rice's Glass cars and vans, safely protected from the outside world. It took away a little from the momunment having modern vehicles in the picture, but I suppose in the field of multi-purpose use monuments, there needs to be some compromise somewhere.

But The Carrboro News believes an award to Rice's Glass is in order for the Best Multi-Pupose Use for a Monument. Congratulations, Rice's Glass... and for our readers, if you ever want to go down there and reflect upon our history and make a connection to our past, pick up a sandwich and walk through the gates(they're usually open during the day).... with a few minutes of contemplation as you look at the razor sharp barb wire(In the past it kept the POW's in, but in practicality it's to keep THEM out)you'll start to have an appreciation for why we are where we are today.

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