December Editorial Winner

A great plan

Wayne Trotter, Countywide & Sun

Loss of institutional memory is one of the few downsides to term limits state legislators have to live with by an act of the people. But because of natural turnover and plain old forgetfulness, the same thing can occur in other areas.
The reason the trees planted in 1995 on the Tecumseh Middle School campus as a memorial to the Murrah Building bombing were cut down in 2014 was a lack of institutional memory. That’s a fancy way of saying nobody remembered or nobody who remembers is still on the staff.
But once the error was pointed out, Superintendent Tom Wilsie, TMS Principal Robby Kinsey and others decided to try to turn this negative into a positive. They made it a learning opportunity for children who hadn’t been born when pure terror visited their home state.
The extent of their success was on display Monday night when the Tecumseh Board of Education held its monthly meeting. A group of fresh, young faces unveiled their concept of how a new memorial ought to look. Their work reflected a great deal of study, thought and taste. If the new memorial they propose can be built, it will be a tribute not only to the 168 people who lost their lives on April 19, 1995 but to the youngsters who worked on the concept, the faculty members who led and inspired them and the community in which they live.
And, yes, it can be built. The projected cost of what the students propose is between $7,000 and $20,000. Tecumseh has raised much more money in the past for other worthy causes, some important and some maybe not quite so important. Surely Tecumseh can do that again.
Cutting down the trees was a mistake, one that could have been avoided if only someone had thought to place a plaque on or near the trees 19 years ago. It really was nobody’s fault. A new sign had been erected and some of those trees were blocking the line of sight. That electronic sign, by the way, is quite an asset.
Sometimes mistakes lead to making things better. The school system got it right in deciding to turn this into a positive. The plans for the new memorial reflect that attitude and a lot of youngsters have already learned something they need to know.
Let’s pull together and get this done, Tecumseh.

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