One hundred years ago, on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank two hours and forty minutes later in the frigid early morning hours of April l5. Of the 2,223 passengers on board, only 710 were rescued from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia four hours later. We all know that there were insufficient lifeboats to begin with, but even if there had been enough lifeboats and all passengers were safely off the doomed ship, if the invention of the wireless had not existed and been utilized by the Marconi wireless operators as a distress signal, all would have died. Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian inventor of the radio who pioneered wireless telegraphy, gave evidence at the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic concerning telegraphy’s functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea. Britain’s postmaster-general in reference to the Titanic disaster said, “Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi and his marvelous invention.”
Within the eastern sector of Church Square Park, and accessible from the Garden Street sidewalk entrance, is a magnificent monument that was erected on April 2, 1955 that commemorates Guglielmo Marconi for his development of wireless transmissions which impacted the world and saved the survivors of the Titanic’s sinking. This monument also recognizes The Four Chaplains. When the USAT Dorchester was torpedoed on its way to Greenland during World War 11, they calmed and organized the men and gave up their life jackets, sacrificing their lives so that others could live.
On Thursday, May 17, residents gathered in Church Square Park to discuss changes the city wants to make to the park. They already have a plan and wanted input from the public. What the public found out was they want to merge the basketball courts by closing off the sidewalk entrance to the monument which would leave the monument in a backwards position with the front of the monument with its inscription and images facing a chain-link fence.
The city also wants to remove five large and beautiful decades-old trees that are around the edges of the basketball courts. Since so many of the park’s trees die because of inclement weather, to eliminate healthy trees that took generations to reach their current height is unfathomable. The trees were in the park long before the courts came along and if they want to resurface the area because of tree roots causing cracks in the black top, there are less drastic ways to rectify the problem by smoothing and if necessary slightly raising the surface of the courts upon the existing surface. It is an anathema to me to destroy nature to rearrange the positioning of the basketball courts. Cut down healthy trees??!! You cannot restore eighty to one hundred year old trees once they are destroyed. They are Church Square Park’s natural monuments.