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Should Sept. 11 be a holiday?

Date: 4/6/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

The mini-furor created by a column in the Boston Herald over the selection of Sept. 11 as the day for this year s enshrinement ceremonies at the Basketball Hall of Fame came at the same time it was revealed the Hall is suffering from money problems and that Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has contacted Gov. Deval Patrick and Congressman Richard Neal about the possibility of some sort of bail out.

It should be noted that Hall President John Doleva is on record not asking for any government assistance.

So what could have been a huge year for the Hall " the induction of Michael Jordan and the possible visit by President Obama and the governor " has been overshadowed by these two other issues.

I have a very soft spot for the Hall as I worked at the first Hall starting my junior year of high school and through college. I even worked there a bit after college.

I think, though, if Hall officials have said they don t need public assistance " after all, public funds were used in the construction of the present Hall " then allow them to do what we all have to do and work out their issues on their own.

From what I ve heard Sept. 11 was picked because the Hall didn t want the conflicts of Labor Day and the Big E.

Does anyone remember the messages that came out of the Bush White House in the days following the Sept. 11 attacks? Officials urged Americans to go about their business to show the terrorists that they couldn t bring the nation to their knees. Yes, commemorate the heroes of the day. Pray for the victims. Support the real and legitimate efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

But also don t delay that vacation, though. Buy that house. Open that business.

So the question is whether or not Sept. 11 will be a day on which we stop all activities that seem frivolous or unnecessary. Should it be an official day of mourning? Should businesses be closed?

If Sept. 11 is treated as such, then what about Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day? What about April 12? What s April 12? That s the day in 1861 the Civil War started, a conflict that cost the lives of nearly 700,000 Americans.

We care about these days as long as we as a society have a real connection to them. That connection is generally in the form of the people who were directly affected by these events.

While the wounds caused by the attacks on Sept. 11 are still very much fresh for too many people, I do believe what was said nearly eight years ago still is valid today: if we go on with our lives, we defeat the terrorists.

The enshrinement date shouldn t be an issue.


I tried walking last week from the Big Y parking lot in East Longmeadow across North Main Street to the Stop & Shop plaza. My wife wanted to shop at Home Goods and I wanted to check out DVDs at FYE.

Sounds simple, right? It should have been. First, parking lots weren t made for pedestrians. I warily dodged cars as I made my way across the lot to the street.

Then I waited at the crosswalk. I pushed the button. Nothing happened. Several traffic cycles later, I ran across when there was a red light in my favor.

Across the street, again there was no entrance or right of way from the sidewalk into the parking lot of the plaza except a pathway worn into some landscaping.

Now when town officials approve the plans for such developments " and this problem is in every community, not just East Longmeadow " why doesn t anyone consider the possibility of people accessing the businesses by walking?

The next time you want a real adventure, walk the short distance from downtown Springfield to Bob s Discount Furniture in West Springfield over the Memorial Bridge. Trying to get to the bridge from Springfield means a mad dash across Columbus Avenue.

Once over the bridge, now you have to negotiate your way around the other side of the rotary. Lots of luck!

Again, why were these roads and sidewalks planned in this manner? If we really want to go green, it might help to re-work some of these areas so people who would like to walk to their destination can do so without being an accident statistic.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., E. Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.