Newtown memorial at Jamaica Plain monument

Newtown memorial in Jamaica Plain

The fence in front of the Soldiers Monument in Jamaica Plan tonight was lined with 26 teddy bears and crosses as a memorial for the children and educators killed in Newtown, CT on Friday.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Hey, guess what?

By on

They may not all be Christians, but they are sure all dead. I wouldn't piss on anyone's efforts on this one.

up
11

Classic.....

By on

...Uhub comment. Now if only Dani has the Citizens Connect app to let more people know she's offended at the crosses on public property.

Good job JP.

up
10

To be fair and objective about it,

By on

Maybe it would've been better not to put any religious symbols up at all, because religion really has no place there.

up
11

Didn't all like teddy bears either

By on

I bet.

Ever hear the saying "It's the thought that counts?"

Magnify that by a murderous 2 dozen and let people grieve. Good grief.

Stupidest politically correct comment I've heard in a long time

By on

"We're aware that not all the dead are christians, right?"

Stupidest politically correct comment I've heard in a long time. A memorial is a memorial. The gesture is heartfelt whatever the faith. Let it be.

up
13

You are wrong

By on

I'm Jewish and I would find it enormously insulting for someone to memorialize a member of my family with a cross. Perhaps you just don't understand.

Christians spent centuries persecuting and murdering Jews for no other reason than their background and religion. In the 19th century it was routine for Christians to get drunk and go into Jewish homes and butcher them for no good reason at all, especially around this time of year. And they would do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

My grandmother's family fled Eastern Europe with 12 children (she was the youngest) and NOTHING except the clothing on their back (and not even that, in a couple of cases) because they would have been murdered by Christians if they stayed. Their homes and villages were burned to the ground and left to the wild. My mother went back a few years ago to try and find any traces. There is nothing left.

Fuck all of you who talk about "PC vs non-PC" and that bullshit political crap. This has zero to do with that and everything to do with the bloody history of antisemitism that Christians try to pretend never happened.

To put up a cross for a Jewish person is an insult*, plain and simple. Now, this tragedy happened in a different state, and it is clear that this memorial is more about self-promotion of certain JP residents than about the victims of the hideous crime. This selfishness is doubly compounded by raising a cross for a Jewish child. There was obviously no care put into this memorial, they just wanted something for the media's cameras.

*(and this probably goes for people of other faiths as well, but I won't speak for them)

up
10

Please get a grip

By on

First, my bona fides: I'm also a Jew. My maternal grandmother fled the pogroms in Russia. Fairly sizable portions of the family on my father's side never left Europe for the New World and wound up murdered by Nazis.

Although you and I, as Jews, instantly picked out the Jewish victims and mourners - let's be honest, that's what Jews do - I am betting the guy who erected this display was not out to disrespect the dead in any way; he just didn't know.

This is not some Mormon group repeatedly "converting" Anne Frank. This is some guy 200 miles from the scene - who has suffered his own devastating personal losses (one son dead in Iraq, one dead of suicide) - reacting to a horrible, unspeakable act. Should he have wondered if there were some Jewish kids (or Muslim or Buddhist kids)? Perhaps. But let's not lay 2,000 years of persecution on somebody who, at worst, just didn't think.

up
10

Well I wasn't going to say much originally

By on

But it occurred to me that this fact that "he didn't know" is the source of the confusion. I have attempted to convey some small fragment of understanding to why a non-Christian does not consider the cross to be an innocuous symbol, but rather a symbol of persecution.

As to whether the grieving family learns of the memorial and is offended by it or not, that is their choice. And that choice should not be forced by some in society telling them that they should feel gracious "just because" it's a memorial.

I agree somewhat with Matthew

By on

I agree somewhat with Matthew and I am a catholic. There's something about these type memorials I find unsettling. Let us leave the families to heal, grieve and try to figure out what to do next. It's not about us and I feel sometimes these memorials - not picking on this one in particular, are inappropriate grabs for attention.

As a parent I can't imagine going through what these poor folks are dealing with but I wish everyone would just stop.

up
12

I agree with Dani

By on

I agree with Dani, and I would add that you don't get to impose your religion on the dead.

I wouldn't want a Satanist pentagram, a Star of David, a Muslim crescent, or whatever Scientology's symbol is to memorialize my death, either. To me, it is equally distasteful as Mormons who re-baptize the dead into the LDS church.

I'm sure the anti-PC crowd will be all offended on my views on religious liberty, this being the "War on CHRISTmas" time and all, so let the outrage commence.

up
14

I concur

By on

I'm an atheist and pretty pc if I have to admit it.

I see no disrespect.

It's a gesture and a remembrance, not a lasting memorial.

Many war dead were marked with simple crosses until the remains could be recovered and buried properly with the right religious symbolism.

No harm came from that.

I see no disrespect either

By on

And when I die, if strangers are so moved by my passing that they memorialize me using whatever religious symbol is meaningful to them, I'd have no problem with it either.

I'm sorry, but

By on

if you're dead, how will you know how you were memorialized? How can you stop anyone from memorializing you?

Also, what are you missing in your life that you would welcome the enmity of a bunch of strangers on a website?

Enmity, Crosses, and Strangers in the Night

By on

It's not that I welcome enmity, it's that I am resigned to it.

When I saw Facebook statuses about how “God is not allowed in school” and when people at work talked about the children all being “safe with Jesus now” and how “God has a plan for everyone, even if we can't understand it”, I just bit my tongue instead of finding a polite way to say that it was all bullshit. Everyone of us will probably cope with this tragedy in irrational ways, so let it be, right?

I was a little irked that the President asserted that he “knew” that Heaven and God was waiting for the kids, but I thought Not my kids and not my town – I will keep my mouth shut.

I personally don't like the proliferation of public memorials after a mass tragedy like the one pictured above. I find them ghoulish and think they are emotional triggers and cause us to ruminate over morbidity and gruesome tragedy to the point where it may be less than helpful for coping. Also, some people who are super-close to the tragedy may not want to be reminded of it at every corner. But I was going to keep that opinion to myself because other people's voices should be heard and people do this sort of thing to cope. Not a big deal.

But then Dani has the audacity to imply – innocuously, I might add - that maybe, just maybe, the Christian Cross isn't a one-size-fits-all piece of metaphysical iconography and that perhaps a few Stars of David were in order. After her comment, four comments pop up dismissing her point, one of the comments saying that her comment was “stupid”. It is amazing that people will more-or-less accuse Dani of going out of her way to be offended and respond by going out of their ways to find offensive the mere suggestion that a Cross wasn't good enough.

Dani's point is valid and reasonable. I would have been content giving her a simple Uhub +1 vote, but it seemed the crowd could only see her as some PC fascist. Someone else made the point down thread that including faith-appropriate symbols “...might say to a grieving family 'we cared enough to find out', which makes it about them, rather than 'put up crosses - we need a visibility site”' - I strongly agree with that. I also strongly agree with first amendment rulings that religious symbols do not belong on public property.

The reason I made the comment above is because I have view points that no one else was sharing. Those views weren't articulated in part because people disagree with me, but also because people who agree know it is an unpopular position and, like in my examples above, don't want to be the one to go against the grain in a sensitive time for everyone. I wanted my beliefs represented, even if it would piss of my compatriots at Universal Hub. I did not want the enmity, I wish more people agreed with me, but I knew it was coming.

Crosses

By on

For the majority in this country, the cross is an easily recognized symbol of both death and hope. IMVHO, there is no other symbol that so readily conveys both at a single glance. Thus, it is the most convenient shorthand available. Combined with the teddy bears, I think it is quite poignant. If you find it offensive, I find that amazing.

If somebody from Newtown complains about it, that's another story. But, you? Come on.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

up
10

How do you know where I live?

By on

Or don't live? :p

Anyone who thinks a cross, especially at death memorial, can ever be divorced from it's representation of Christianity is in denial.

tblade - I Don't, On Both Counts

By on

First, let me say that you expressed yourself quite well in the comment appearing a couple above this one. You obviously have some strong feelings about this. I'm sure you showed some of the same restraint I did - mine as a Christian, yours as not - by not resorting to simple indignation and insulting language.

(I hope that doesn't sound condescending; I mean it only as a compliment. You took the time to articulate your side carefully and precisely, and I always appreciate that sort of thing.)

OK, I don't know where you live, or where Dani lives. I assumed that if it was Newtown, I'd be told that soon enough. And I would have taken that as my cue to shut the hell up :-) Now, that's not to say that anyone should be denied a voice because of where they live or don't live, but since the memorial is meant to be of some very minor solace to those in Newtown, I would consider a protest expressed from that locale weighty in a way that some folks in the Boston area tossing around offhand commentary is not.

(Some people here have expressed a belief that the memorial is self-aggrandizing. I don't think it is. That's a separate question, though.)

As to your point about crosses never being divorced from their representation of Christianity, I don't disagree. I do, however, strongly believe that the sentiment implicitly expressed by the cross, in this instance, is a respect for the dead and a respect for those related to the dead in some way. The inclusion of them was (in my opinion, of course, as I am not privy to the actual thoughts of the designer) meant only to convey solidarity, shown in the way he probably thought most strongly conveyed that. We all express emotion in varying ways. If he is a Christian (which I think is obvious) then his visual expression of emotion might necessarily include that symbol he finds most apropos of compassion, hope, or whatever else he feels would be nice to show the citizens of Newtown. As a non-believer, the cross represents something different to you than to him. What it represents to me may differ from both of you. The important thing is that he likely believes, in his heart, that people in Newtown will understand the intent as one of compassion, perhaps empathy.

An aside: I've never been a big fan of public memorial displays. They do seem somewhat tacky, at times, and I doubt I would ever build one or contribute anything to one. I just think it a strange reaction if the first thought that comes to mind upon seeing this one is that the person who erected it is somehow being insulting or offensive when, to my eyes, the intent is so obviously benign.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

Carlos Arredondo really needs to see a shrink

By on

This guy is getting really tiresome. Every time there's some sort of death or tragedy, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with JP or Boston, he feels the need to personally bear the cross and make a public spectacle about it - to the point that his displays are tacky.

Wake The Earth, for example - a celebration of spring, life, joy - and this guy's tromping through it with a disgustingly tacky display about death and war.

That's a really cruel

By on

thing to say, considering what his experience has been, losing a son in Iraq. Don't you think someone like Carlos (if he was indeed the person who put this up) has a good reason to do so, based on his personal experience that many of us have not had?

I get that Carlos Arredondo lost his sons.

By on

We're just shy of ten years away from when his son died. The war in which his son died is over.

He's gotten a square in JP renamed after his son.

Our post office is now named for him.

Before long, we'll probably have a street named after him, I'm betting.

His father co-ops the civil war monument on a regular basis.

At every parade or community event, there's Carlos...mourning his son, or other soldiers, or some firefighters, or a bunch of toddlers.

ENOUGH.

Every fucking day people die. They die for sad reasons, they die for horrible reasons, they die at the hands of others, they die in mistakes, they die in accidents, they die of natural causes. Lovers, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors. We mourn them.

Then we move on.

Carlos Arrendondo needs to move on, or at least, after 8 years, mourn in private. He's been RELENTLESS in seeking the public spotlight.

up
10

Wow....that's cold

By on

I hope when someone you love dies, no one tells you long you should grieve and how. And please explain to me how his grief has an impact on the quality of your daily life?

Eat Fecal Matter and Expire

Carlos Arredondo just saved a man's life in the bombing yesterday.

Saved a life. All because he was there (handing out flags to finishers in memory of his son) knew what to do and ran in to help when others were (understandably) running away from a horror show.

Can we ban anons now please?

up
10

Yes, Carlos is a little

By on

Yes, Carlos is a little obsessed with death. You might be,too, if one of your sons was killed in war and another one committed suicide.

But, you're right, it's so much nicer and more convenient when people hide their pain and grief.

Jeez.

up
10

One jewish mom's POV....

By on

A kind symbol of solidarity. I know at least one of the children killed was jewish ( also, a twin I believe.) I am jewish and a mother of twin 8 yo boys. I am moved by the spirit behind the ad-hoc memorial. A Star of David might be even more powerful for the family of the one Jewish family? I believe it would be for me.

If nothing else ...

By on

It might say to a grieving family "we cared enough to find out", which makes it about them, rather than "put up crosses - we need a visibility site".

I'm going to go out on a limb

By on

and say that someone whose kid was murdered a state away isn't going to care what Boston is doing for them.

up
10

One little memorial @ Arlington Street Church

By on

opposite the T stop, by the stairs. Originally had a lit candle, along with teddy bears and what-not. Been there for days, untouched. Not stolen or vandalized. I'm impressed.

MAYBE someone could place a Star of David at the monument memorial for Noah Pozner. That was his name. I was raised Catholic, am now Agnostic, but can understand how it could be construed as offensive to have a cross memorializing him. I'm sure though that 99% of people Jewish or not appreciate the efforts by the folks who created the memorial.

up
11

The Pathology of "Inclusivness"

By on

Rather than feign affront over a couple of mawkish crosses, a more thoughtful person would ask why no similar memorial has been erected for the hundreds of young, black men who are shot dead not too far from JP.

Gun violence is gun violence, right? Not trying to make this a racial issue, by the way, just curious as to why the tragic loss of so many other people's children is habitually and callously disregarded, but the moment this happens in some middle-class, white bread suburb, the White House at least pretends to do something about it.

The hand-wringing over whether the memorial comports to PC sensibilities, and the reactionary trolls eager to call people out for being "overly PC" totally miss the larger point, namely, that we're quite willing to do away with civil liberties in order to be safe, just as long as the people getting indiscriminately murdered are abroad, and preferably muslim/brown, e.g. the "war on terror," but heaven-forbid if a modest reduction in access to lethal weaponry is proposed. It doesn't matter that a scrawny kid from CT can singlehandedly freak out every teacher, student, in this land of the "free."

I'm sure gonna get flack for this one

By on

Putting crosses and teddy bears on the fence probably made the do-gooder feel all warm inside. How nice for you. Your efforts would be better spent sending 26 letters to congress demanding a change to the laws that make this kind of slaughter possible, and unfortunately all too common. And all those condolences sent to the familys, although well intentioned, really ignore the real problem. If you continue voting republican these tragedies will continue to happen.

up
11

If I die.....

Please put a bunch of different memorials and say a bunch of different prayers from different religions for me just in case the religion I chose was the wrong one.

I don't want to burn hell just because I chose the wrong religion.

(Sorry if this came off too blasemephoric).

up
11

From a purely local perspective

By on

Please give some thought to the fact that just a block from this memorial stands a Boston public school serving children, preschool through middle-school age. All good and heartfelt intentions noted, think: many of the youngest children HERE in this neighborhood should be and are being sheltered from knowledge of the Sandy Hook horror by the mighty efforts of loving adults who know that children function best when they are not made to envision themselves as victims of mass savagery. Have a heart for the living and take this down.

up
12

With all due respect

Speaking as a parent (of now grown children) -- we never believed that our children should be sheltered from the real world. In any event, they had more than one classmate who died -- so we couldn't wish away the sadnesses of life.

To shelter our young

By on

as needed and as possible is to serve our natural role; it is not to wish away sadness. Tragedies in a child's own community have to be dealt with to provide guidance and support, clearly, and your children are not unique in experiencing loss. There is no reasonable purpose, however, in impressing on the minds of little children every hellish event happening beyond the scope of their immediate experience.

up
22

so moving forward

I am Greek Orthodox, not that that has any bearing here but, i have seen these memorials with crosses and wondered if any of the victims, in any of these incidents was not a christian. Now am i offended, feel there is an unfair assumption, consider the makers of these memorials insensitive? no.

But, moving forward, assuming you are putting up a memorial to 20 victims (hypothetical number), don't have the time or means to research their religious views (they could be atheists!), what do you put up?

A question mark for agnostics

and a zero with a line through it(or That's all Folks) for atheists.

People can be creative in representing the fallen. Pink and blue circles, stick figures(or rest room door signs that are age appropriate(those that don't fit the gender binary can chime in how they would like to be included acceptably), their first names.

Goddess Bless