Letter to the editor: Memorial benches raise concerns
By: From Doris Davidson, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
I would like to raise a concern regarding the proliferation of memorial benches and tables along the Two Harbors lake shore. Two years ago, a friend said it’s beginning to look like a cemetery. That was before they recently sprouted like mushrooms. The city council members approved their placement, but have they actually seen how they look?
The latest additions near the Edna G and on the point overlooking Burlington Bay (where there were already two cement benches) are not the cement versions with small memorial plaques, but benches with full back and seat made of black onyx-like material. Memorial sentiments are carved in larger letters on the backs, with birth and death dates on some and pictures of the deceased. Another new memorial looks like a headstone laid on its side, prompting one tourist to say he had wondered if someone was buried right there.
I feel for the people who have experienced the loss of a loved one and don’t want to be insensitive to their grief. However, don't these very personal memorials and markers belong in the cemetery rather than along a very public and tourist-visited lakewalk? Three tourists independently stated they thought the benches were creepy. One suggested people could best be remembered with a planted tree, a memorial brick in a designated place (such as we already have at the library), or if a bench, something made of wood in harmony with the natural environment with a small attached plaque, like the cement benches have had until now.
Since there are now so many memorials – I don't know the total, but seven memorials have been put up in the past few weeks alone- maybe it's time to stop. It’s sad to cover the lakefront with too much or too many of anything. Also, this image of grieving might not be what we want to leave in the minds of our visitors.