Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good Spellen' at Niles Public Library

Just in front of the main entrance to the library in suburban Niles, Illinois, there are 6 benches for patrons to sit on and sun themselves, read, smoke or whatever.

In a really nice little gesture, some years back, the local Niles Cub Scouts offered to dedicate each of the benches to the veterans of each of America's major wars.

The little fellas in blue, painted the name and years of the conflict on each bench in large letters and in smaller letters, listed the major battles of the particular war.

So there is a bench dedicated to Civil War veterans and it says "American Civil War - April 1861 - May 1865" in big letters. And on the side in smaller letters it says "Fort Sumter - Shiloh - Gettysburg - Appomattox".

But on the bench commemorating World War I, the Cubbies listed the following battles: St. Mihiel, The Marne, Belleau Wood and "Argone Forest" (sic).

Do you see what's wrong with this picture?

"Argone" is misspelled. The costliest battle in the history of American warfare, where 26,000 American men were killed and 91,000 were injured was, in fact, the battle of Argonne Forest.

Now it's one thing to misspell something like that on a middle school term paper, but this thing is  - if not exactly etched in stone - at least pretty solidly out there on public display.

And in front of a library - Niles' preeminent place of learning.

And it's been up there since 1990.

And none of the sagacious scholars at Niles' Public Library ever seemed to have caught it.

I hear there are a few job openings at the Niles Public Library. The pay is pretty good and they are an equal opportunity employer.

They do not discriminate against those afflicted with illiteracy.

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Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.