Commentary: No More Concrete

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, January 5, 2007

Another bill to build yet another concrete memorial in Capitol Park has been signed into law. This time legislators authorized the construction of an “International Genocide Memorial” to commemorate the millions of innocents across the globe who have been victims of state sponsored genocide.

The goal may be laudable but the shrinking expanse of trees, grass and flowers that is Capitol Park ought not to be sacrificed to accomplish it. To protect the park and honor victims of genocide, don’t erect concrete memorials. Plant a tree instead. Better yet, a grove of trees. There’s precedent. To honor those who gave their lives to preserve the union and end slavery, earlier generations of Californians planted a Civil War memorial grove.

Capitol Park is a cool green refuge from the bustle of commerce and gritty politics nearby. That serenity is threatened as more of the park’s green space is scraped away to make room for concrete memorials. There are 13 already. To protect lawmakers from terrorists or, more likely, disgruntled citizens, the park was recently encircled in steel posts, too.

Enough. Lets not pave another inch. To anybody who would use Capitol Park to honor future victims or heroes, I say, plant a tree.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.