The rabbit stays, but it's getting no respect.
At the Flag Day parade Thursday evening, veterans and others walked past an uncovered fiberglass rabbit at Dedham's Oakdale Common, but did not give a gun salute at the site. Many say the sculpture compromises the intent of the space, which also holds a dedication to those in the armed services.
The controversy came to light after the rabbit was placed in the park over the weekend, putting two groups in town -- the Dedham Public Art Project and the Combined Veterans Council at odds over its appropriateness.
On Wednesday, veterans asked that the rabbit be covered or removed from the site prior to the parade, during which they had planned fire off guns during a salute at the memorial.
At a meeting this morning with the two groups, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the town administrator, no consensus was reached about the placement of the sculpture.
However, Parks Department Director Bob Stanley said the veterans representative stated they would not salute if it wasn’t covered.
“Honestly, we sat there and it did get a little heated, but we had already given permission to the Dedham Art Project to have the bunny there, and we cannot go back on that decision without calling for a public meeting,” Stanley said.
The Recreation Commission already planned to meet Monday at 7 p.m. and has added a discussion about the bunny’s placement to the agenda.
Members of the Dedham Art Project did not want to comment on the exact details of the meeting Thursday morning; however, they stressed that want the issue resolved as positively as possible.
“We have the highest respect for the men and women of our armed forces,” Stephanie Radner, Dedham Art Project member said. “We know the people of Dedham have a great respect for the veterans and all public servants and we plan to uphold that respect.”
The parade begins at 6 p.m. and will wind its way through downtown Dedham and past the Oakdale Common.