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We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered and bought tickets to our Fundraising Gala on April 30!

Thank you to the Mt. Anthony Country Club for the great service, and couch + cork for hosting the wine grab. A special thanks to our volunteers and fundraising committee who made it look effortless and the wonderful performers for entertaining everyone! It was a huge success and we are lucky to part of such a collaborative and supportive community and look forward to continuing to bring performing arts to downtown Bennington and the beginning of Oldcastle’s 50th season in June!

Jennifer Jasper

Executive Director

The staff and board of Bennington Performing Arts Center — The Home of Oldcastle Theatre Company

The Bennington Battle Monument is far more than a 306 foot stack of bricks. It’s a petrified ray of sunshine. If you google petrified ray of sunshine the first thing that comes up is an explanation of an obelisk. The monument is an allegory in stone. It tells the story of August 16 in stone. The battle was fought on the 16th because the sun came out allowing Stark and his men the use of firearms. Stark said to Thomas Allen, “If the good lord shall once again give us sunshine and I don’t give you enough fighting I shall never ask you to turn out again.”

The bronze star on the top represents the sun. At the Dedication ceremony in 1891, ex-Governor John Stewart said, “It holds mystic symbolism unintelligible to the common mind without the key.” The bronze star is the key.

The monument in many ways is as deep as it is tall, metaphorically speaking. The base stone is 7’6” thick which is our nation’s birthyear. The Warner statue has a peculiar pose which can only be found on two other statues which both happen to be Green Mountain Boys. The monument is not a silent reminder of the past but rather a loud shout to the future. It screams without muttering a single word.

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Obelisks are also a symbol of unity and hope. They are a divine connection between heaven and earth through God’s gift of light. Our graveyards prove that fact where we see them studded with obelisks. At the 1891 dedication we see speeches where they speak of the monument inspiring the future and present with hope and unity. Ml Severance said, “The sun rose with a reassuring healing in its beams on August 16.”

Edwin Barret referred it as, “beacon lights for all the oppressed to the last syllables of recorded time.” EJ Phelps said, “The child shall learn from these stones the first instincts of patriotism. The wayfarer to whose ear our English tongue conveys no sense, shall not fail of their meaning.”

Soon the monument will be surrounded in scaffolding as it gets a wellness check. The 306 foot petrified ray of sunshine will get its mortar repaired so that its future will be secure and bright. I’m hearing throughreliable sources the lighting will be updated. I hope we consider that the builders intended this to be a beacon of hope and unity and whose glow should radiate so all can see and not just the fortunate few who live in its shadow. We can have a balance of intimate up close yet still a beacon from afar. The monument site deserves a state of the art lighting and we should be using it for public awareness like many other landmarks and monuments around the globe.

Philip Pappas


Columnist Kathleen Parker’s Opinion in the Banner (May 5) illustrates some of the inconsistences made in discussing abortion. Her comments may contribute to the polarization, rather than build a consensus. Ms. Parker states that “Many Americans — 60 percent to 70 percent — support Roe and don’t want it overturned.” To the extent this is true, it probably reflects the simplistic view that without Roe, all abortions would be banned. I agree that most Americans would probably support Roe if this were the case. In her next sentence, Ms. Parker states that “other polls show that they favor limits on second-trimester abortions,” which may be true as well. Roe, while striking down a state law that banned all abortions, suggested that each state could legislate its own rules on abortion, within reason. Casey reaffirmed that the critical point may be the viability of the fetus. Some states never passed a law on abortion; some only recently passed abortion laws. If the Supreme Court is now going to throw the decision back to the states, that is not so new — it’s basically what Roe did 50 years ago. Roe did not create a “litmus test” but it might have been helpful if it did. Forcing people to decide between pro-choice and pro-life extremes only creates the polarization that has allowed emotion to override reason, i.e., the litmus test. It is a long way from her statement that only “one-third of Americans believe that abortion should generally be legal in the second trimester” to the question of when partial-birth abortion is justified. Ms. Parker seems to throw in the towel as she concludes that, “If the Supreme Court rules as seems likely, we might not see another Republican president for a very long time.” If Ms. Parker would like to “open the door for more moderates in public office” as she suggests, reason needs to override emotions. I suspect that moderates will be found in ample numbers in both parties; their presence and voices need to be encouraged, not ridiculed. The extremists should put their emotions on the shelf and let reason rule the discussions.

Don Miller



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