Modern-day statues

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

Americans rarely erect statues in small towns any more.

Those days seem to have disappeared with foreign wars fought many years ago. Instead of bronze or concrete soldiers standing guard over town plazas and parks, we rename bridges or buildings or the parks themselves to pay homage to a resident who has done remarkable things.

Two ceremonies this week illustrate such actions. Sr. Trooper Robert A. Hill Sr. had a bridge that spans Route 58 named for him. Hill was killed in the line of duty in November 2006.

He had been a trooper for 19 years and was well known throughout the area for his compassion and generosity, having started and spearheaded a program of Christmas donations to children in Southampton’s Head Start program.

On Saturday, the gym at Franklin High School was renamed The Peggy H. Wilkins Gymnasium in honor of a former girls’ basketball coach at the school.

The honor, too, is the right dedication at the right location.

Wilkins posted an almost unbelievable won-loss record while at the school. Her teams won 191 games and lost but 16, many of those in postseason playoff games.

Friends, family and colleagues came out to the school on Saturday to meet and honor Wilkins. There was great discussion about her coaching abilities.

In this day and age, the dedications represent the statues we used to know.