The Removal and Who It Affects
It was a week ago that the UFO Monument was removed from a privately owned area near the Covered Bridge in Sheffield. Many in the community are disappointed and upset at the action and have voiced their opinion on the WSBS Facebook page loud and clear. I for one don't always share my opinion or take a stance but from the beginning, WSBS has supported the monument and the UFO Park. This isn't a secret. We have had Thomas Reed (who grew up in the area, has had a history with Sheffield, and has been a voice for the community) on the station a number of times through the years. (We've have also reached out to the Town Administrator in the past for an on-air interview, but unfortunately didn't get a response). I was present in August 2015 when the media day was taking place for the placement of the monument and last but certainly not least, WSBS covered the 1969 incident on air with news bulletins around the time the event happened. With that said, WSBS would certainly support the removal of the monument if it's affecting the community or a majority of the community in a negative way. The question is, Is it? If it is, please clue us in at: 413-528-0860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can have a better understanding of the issue.
After speaking with Thom at length on Monday afternoon, it's obvious he just wants to clear the air of the situation. From what I was told, he certainly is not looking to attack the Town of Sheffield. He would just love to see the monument returned to its previous setting at the park and furthermore he would like to see the community happy and rejoice in the return of the monument. In reality, this action of removing the monument isn't hurting Thom. Thom didn't place the monument at the park and he didn't choose the design. Thom didn't even see the monument until a couple of days before the August 2015 media event. Furthermore, if residents feel the monument in its current state is an eyesore, Thom is completely supportive of having the monument visually improved to make it more attractive on the eye.
The removal of the monument is hurting the town by inadvertently rejecting possible tourism dollars and stifling future film and television projects. Most importantly, it's hurting the community that love and support the monument. This fact is certainly clear on our Facebook page. As Thom and I chatted on the phone, it became clear that for the people that witnessed this incident in 1969, the monument meant much more to them than a heavy concrete slab with a documentation plate. It validated their experience - what they saw and felt that September evening in 1969. It served as a historical marker. By removing the monument, it removes that validation and erases history. As some people have asked, who's it hurting by having the monument at that location? The community has spoken and it's clear what they want. They want their monument back. Return the monument and restore history. As Thom quoted to me on the phone "Can't we all just get along?"
Thom and a couple of others will be on the WSBS Let's Talk program in the near future at 9:05 am to clear the air of this incident. You are encouraged to call in that morning and voice your opinion at 413-528-0860. We look forward to hearing from you.
Featured Image: Thomas Reed (left) along with WSBS' Jesse Stewart (right) in August of 2015 in front of the UFO monument.