New image needed for state flag and seal

Published: 7/11/2019 7:01:04 AM

By now, I imagine most state residents are familiar with the proposed bill in the Legislature to change the state flag and seal. The current symbol depicts a Native American man, and above his head, an arm bearing a sword points down toward him. The Latin inscription reads, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only through justice.”

Towns throughout the state have passed this resolution at Town Meetings, several unanimously, including many from Franklin County. At the recent Charlemont Town Meeting, 17 out of 44 voters present at the end of the meeting voted against this resolution (therefore it passed in Charlemont).

One question raised was, “Why change history? We may not agree with or feel good about our past actions, but this is our history – we can’t erase it.”

Well, of course we can’t “erase” history or try to change it – what has occurred will always and forever be an occurrence. I do believe, however, that it is our duty to continually examine and scrutinize our individual and collective actions, our ideas, decisions and creations, to assure that the are accurately representing our present beliefs and values.

As changes like these have been made historically, our artifacts and sculpture, symbols and logos, costumes and regalia have all been collected, salvaged, saved, archived, and memorialized in museums, books and other “treasure troves.”

So in the case of changing our state’s flag and seal, which is extremely offensive to a large percentage of our state’s population, I say “Why not?” (and “It’s about time!”) The present symbol will forever be preserved in the archives (as is the original design). It will be presented in future history books to hep give our children a thorough education of our past. Perhaps it will also be on display in the State House – we certainly could consider displaying it in the Charlemont Town Hall.

What we need now is a new image – one that may resonate with all of us, and truly represent our collective values of our Commonwealth.

Emily Gopen

Charlemont


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