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Rabbit Statue At Center of Flag Day Controversy

"Bunnygate" has the Town of Dedham divided over public land use and honoring veterans.

 

A five-foot fiberglass rabbit statue on the Oakdale Common is causing some controvery in town this week. It's not the rabbit itself; it's more the location where it is placed, on a common which is also home to a memorial for residents who have served in the armed forces. Local veterans are calling for the statue to be removed, or at the very least, covered for tonight's Flag Day parade. 

The rabbit, one of more than a dozen, is part of the , which culminated this spring with these artist-painted fiberglass rabbit sculptures placed across town in high-visibiilty locations. Each rabbit is painted by a juried selection of local artists, each sponsored by local businesses, individuals and organizations. At the conclusion of the public display, the completed sculptures will be auctioned off to support the proposed  being considered as a new use for the current . 

The rabbit amid the controversy is one dedicated to veterans, but the location where it was placed is the real issue among residents and local veterans. 

“We do not believe that this rabbit is appropriate to be on the same lot dedicated to people who gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice," said Norfolk County Commissioner and Dedham veteran Fran O’Brien in a phone interview Wedesday night. "We want to cover the rabbit with bunting so that we can celebrate our veterans.” 

While O'Brien said the Arts Council was told by the Park and Recreation department to touch base with both the town's veterans agent and the Combined Veterans Council, both were in the dark.

"We knew nothing about this until we got a phone call about it. I don’t think the Arts Council has set out to hurt our veterans, but I think they have made a mistake in judgment and we want to correct it,” O’Brien said. 

According to an article on Boston.com, the group's decision to place the sculpture in the common was a good-hearted and went through the proper channels.

But Dedham veterans want the rabbit statue covered over for tonight’s gun salute at the Common. If the rabbit remains uncovered, O’Brien told the Boston Globe that the salute wouldn’t happen.

 

John Dellea June 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Good grief! I have lived around the corner from that common for 21 years. For most of that time, it was a little used, non-descript, piece of green space which largely went unnoticed. As I recall, perhaps 10 years ago the Oakdale Square Alliance put considerable effort into fund-raising, planning and implementation of a lovely makeover of the space, resulting in a very pleasant spot to sit and read, reflect or people watch. To my memory, it was not until at least a few years after the common was thus significantly beautified as a community space that the veterans' memorial was even suggested for the same spot-- I was in fact worried that the memorial would detract from or overpower the space. Ultimately, I was relieved and pleased with the tasteful monument added to the small common, especially because it did not dominate or detract from the community/multi-use purpose for which New England "commons" have historically existed. Tasteful public art, such as the current rabbit sculptures project around Dedham , is a perfect use for the spot--any veterans who view it otherwise are being very short-sighted, and forgetting that civic pride and public enjoyment are among the values and freedoms which those veterans helped to protect and preserve with their service. -John Dellea, Cedar Street
Andrew Sullivan June 14, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Cover the Bunny for the ceremony and be done with it....Tis much ado about nothing. It is a public common space and as such it has not become a cemetery nor shall it. Let's just get along....Drew Sullivan Madison Street
Avon Barksdale June 14, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Paint "kilroy was here" on the side of the bunny, all set.
Holly dixon June 15, 2012 at 02:40 PM
okay its only temporary and not meant to slander or slur any one or group. its to raise money for something in Dedham and will be gone before you know it. it effect one group and you know who you are who spend the day drinking coffee and smoking and watching oakdale square. look away for a few weeks !!!!! its will be gone
Regina McCarthy June 15, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Agreed!
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Controversial issues are held as potentially divisive in a given society, because they can lead to tension and ill will, as a result they are often taboo to be discussed in the light of company in many cultures. Thanks. Regards, http://youtu.be/7m7QEilKvRk | green coffee bean extract

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