Culture

Topics: Industrial Workers of the World, Centralia, Washington, Centralia Massacre Pages: 3 (709 words) Published: December 5, 2014


As I stood in Centralia’s George Washington Park in the midst of blustery weather and cold rain, Ted pointed out the irony of the statues erected in honor of the Centralia massacre. The large bronze statue known as The Sentinel is the most noticeable and immediately commanded my attention at the center of the park. It was commissioned and placed in 1924 in the name of the four Legionnaires who were killed on that fateful date of November 11, 1919. There is also a tiny plaque on the ground which is a bit more difficult to notice and gives a lasting memory to those were killed in the tragedy. John Regan, co-owner of the Centralia Square Antique Mall, stated, “The monument in the park does not really convey what most people consider to be an accurate view of what took place.” The irony of this park, the little piece of groomed landscape, is that it is surrounded by banks and car dealerships, symbols of Capitalism at its finest. After Ted noted this I took it into account from a metaphorical standpoint; even in the midst of battle between one another on differing viewpoints, the system looms large in the background. My favorite piece in Centralia was the mural commemorating Wesley Everest and the Wobblies. It is thirty feet wide and twenty five feet high and sits on the top story of the Centralia Square Antique Mall. As seen in Anne Fischel’s film, Lewis County: Hope and Struggle, Mike Alewitz, a labor muralist with a unique flair, was commissioned to paint this mural. He chose to use a lot of metaphorical imagery and symbolism in his depiction of the Centralia Massacre. For example, Wesley Everest is triumphantly raising his arms up in the air and half-dressed in both logger clothing and military garb to show his multi-faceted background. To the right there is a capitalist pig surrounded by bags of money and piles of timber; this is meant to symbolize logging company owners. When the mural idea was proposed, community members were not so sure it was the...
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