The new message at Groton’s town boarders is etched in stone, the best to preserve the message for futue generations: “All Are Welcome.”
A group of residents filed a petition seeking a small edit: They’d like to sandblast off the “All Are,” leaving only “Welcome.”
Former Selectman Jack Saball, who filed a citizens petition seeking the erasure, argues that the “All Are Welcome” on the privately-funded markers is a politically coded reaction to the election of Donald Trump as president.
“We’re not against all people being welcome to Groton,” Saball told The Nashoba Valley Voice this week.
Then why go through the effort? Six of the planned eight markers are already installed by the Department of Public Works.
Because the message is literally etched in stone, changing them would require the removal of the markers, which would need to be sandblasted, re-engraved and re-installed.
That’s a lot of effort and cost to make the town just a little bit less welcoming.
All of this comes on the heels of another vote at the spring Town Meeting, a move to change Groton’s town seal. Townspeople quite rightly shot down that plan, retaining a seal that contains the words “faith” and “labor” as well as a plow and a Holy Bible.
What’s the difference between the two votes? The petitioners allege moderator Jason Kauppi did not allow voters time to speak on the stones — an argument that doesn’t hold up when reviewing video of the May meeting.
As residents mull whether to make the town slightly less welcoming, they might take a look at another well-known Groton monument — “The Big Book: Pages for Peace.” Crafted for more than a decade by students at Groton-Dunstable Middle School, the book contains thoughts on creating a more peaceful world from students and leaders from around the world.
For those who have viewed the book, at the United Nations and on its tour around the globe, the word “Groton” likely triggers thoughts of a lovely, peaceful little New England town, full of welcoming people.
Possibly it needs a footnote: not “All Are” welcoming.