The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

July 26, 2013

Our View: History worth renewing

— Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, in his “Third Floor Blog” this week makes some important points about preserving history: “History, for me, is not just something learned from a book but from the monuments and places where history happened.

“It is the shared collective memories and experiences of communities big and small that enriches our lives every day.”

Flanigan isn’t just spouting pretty words here. He grew up in a historic home on a Carthage street lined with them. His father went to work at a law office housed in a great old building on the Carthage square. It’s safe to say that the younger Flanigan’s life was greatly influenced by tradition and a respect for his environs.

In his blog, he champions the need to repair, renovate and rejuvenate Missouri’s Capitol building.

He’s correct to highlight the neglect and remind Missourians of the art and the craftsmanship that can be found in the building.

Flanigan says there are flooding issues that are resulting in damage to the structure and well as the growth of mold.

“As we move forward,” Flanigan writes, “the leadership of our state must decide whether we wish to leave the people’s building in a far better condition than was inherited from the previous generation. However, if they continue to ignore the plight of our Capitol building, posterity will be the poorer for it all because those tasked with preserving our history failed to act.”

Thousands of people — many of them schoolchildren — travel to see the building and all it holds.

It would be a shame for Thomas Hart Benton’s “A Social History of the State of Missouri,” which can be seen on the House Lounge walls, to be housed in anything less than a well-tended Capitol.

We agree with Flanigan, and as one of our state’s leaders, the Carthage state representative is among those who have a true appreciation for history and who should press this issue.

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