Time for another round of Thursday's thumbs, a semi-weekly collection of mini-editorials on recent news of the day. We were digit-al before going digital was cool.
Talk about a man on a mission: Richard Bowman is a veteran of Battery B, 1st Battalion of the 142nd Field Artillery unit. The group served the nation as part of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield between November 1990 and May 1991. Upon their return, a plaque honoring the soldiers was erected on a rock in front of the Springdale National Guard Armory, but it disappeared around 2005 when the Springdale location was closed by the military. Bowman has now found it -- stored in a closet -- and has asked the City Council for a chance to have it displayed in a city park. The soldiers of that unit deserve to have their service honored as originally intended. Kudos to Bowman for working to ensure that plaque is returned to service so that their contributions will be remembered.
As much as we dislike that it's necessary, it's great news that the Rogers School District has approved funding to use wrought iron fencing at Rogers and Heritage high schools to enclose areas that will make the schools more secure from outside interference. Rogers joins other districts that have amped up security precautions with fencing. We'd love to live in a world in which such concerns were misplaced, but school officials can ill afford to assume no one will ever want to step on campus to cause trouble. This is a wise investment.
The tradition of etching the names of University of Arkansas graduates into the sidewalks of campus is, for a lot of alums, more sentimental and valuable than a senior ring. It represents a perpetual connection to a place that, for many, delivered strong memories at the very foundation of their lives. It really never gets old to see one's name there, to know that it is there always. But the names of early graduates are crumbling, according to university officials, who have proposed a concrete replacement program after years of discussion. Targeted for replacement are names from 1875 to 1924. The UA said early this month it planned to get the work under way soon and completed by April. We certainly understand the sentimentality for those early names, but preservation in place isn't feasible. Those early classes will be remembered anew with modern etchings. But the ol' softies at the UA can't bring themselves to just tear up the originals, and we can't blame them. Officials say they will preserve significant portions for future display somewhere. We appreciate the respect the UA is attempting to show to its own history because it's all part of the state's history.
Maybe former state Sen. Jon Woods has some hope. The imprisoned former lawmaker once upon a time wrote to President Trump with a plan to use prison labor to build a border wall between Mexico and the United States. Given the flood of pardons and commutations from President Trump this week, it wouldn't be a surprise if Wood sharpened up his pencil for more correspondence. Trump obviously has shown a penchant to forgive those convicted of public corruption-style charges, such as former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby and ex-New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, convicted of making false statement about a bribe he took. Trump's choices appear to suggest that those involved in political corruption have much less to worry about while he's president.
Like the connective tissue of the names in the UA's Senior Walk, we newspaper folks feel a kinship to those who came before us. For those whose journalistic careers involved work at the Northwest Arkansas Times in Fayetteville, the reminder this week that Arkansas author Charles Portis' byline formerly topped some stories in these parts was welcomed. As Roy Reed once offered a younger journalist, it's an honor to share a connection to a "fellow laborer in the vineyard."
Give’em a thumb
Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commentary on 02/20/2020
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