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Welcome-sign tiff needs dose of common sense.


It all began simply enough. Family and friends of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would take an old sheet or piece of cardboard, fashion a homemade sign, perhaps add a flag, and hang their creation on a bridge overpass to welcome their warrior home.

But this is Massachusetts, where nothing is simple. To some local and state officials, the homemade signs, however well-meaning, were a hazard.

While we cannot recall a single report of a welcome-home sign causing a traffic hazard, Massachusetts has never lacked for solutions in search of a problem. The mere potential for a mishap sufficed to spur creation last year of a special task force to mediate a compromise between good old American patriotism and good old American bureaucracy - and, not incidentally, to take any political heat that might ensue.

The result was what one might expect when political correctness and timidity collide. The task force's latest proposal, the Boston Globe reported recently, is for a generic metal sign, bearing the words "Welcome Home Troops! Thank You for Your Service!" on a flag background and bearing the seals of the nation's armed services.

How touching.

One would be hard-pressed to imagine a "compromise" more unutterably, bureaucratically bland.

What's really needed, of course, is a dose of common sense. Family and friends could do themselves a favor by putting up the signs when Johnny comes marching home and taking them down shortly after the anticipated reunion.

If a particular sign were to be left up for weeks, or become a hazard, state or local highway officials could use their discretion in removing it. And our governor, who created the task force, could surely find something else to do with his valuable time.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 12, 2008
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