A Rhode Island No-Brainer
In what sort of environment could anyone possibly find it acceptable to place the faces of two local (and living!) officials on a monument to others who died heroically in a distant city?
A decision by Mayor Charles Lombardi to remove the likenesses of two of the town’s former public safety officials from the town’s 9/11 Memorial has drawn outcries from several members of the Town Council, who want the mayor to restore the engravings at his own expense.
The 7-foot-high monument in Evans Field was installed and dedicated two years ago by the town’s then-mayor, A. Ralph Mollis, who is now the secretary of state. Until a week or so ago, the granite slab included, among other things, the likenesses of then-Fire Chief Stephen Catanzaro and Frank Bursie, who was serving under Mollis as a police commissioner.
Call the two men “models” if you like, but the New Yorkers who told Mayor Lombardi that “so many people died [that] it would be wrong to have them represented by two individuals” would be right to suggest that the necessity for models ought to have alerted those involved in the project that even giving faces to the representations — let alone faces of acting officials — might be inappropriate.