Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (IX)

The most recent addition to the Ohio Statehouse grounds — and the final stop on our periodic tour of public art outside the Statehouse — is the Ohio Veterans Plaza, located east of the Statehouse at the Third Street entrance.

The Ohio Veterans Plaza is framed by two curved limestone walls that face each other from the opposing ends of the Plaza.  Each wall is fronted by a fountain and a bed of red, white, and blue flowers.  Between the two walls stretch green rectangular lawns studded with flagpoles and embedded stones with the names of each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The grounds are lovely, but it is the inscriptions on the facing limestone walls that pack the emotional punch.  The inscriptions are taken from letters from or about soldiers during wartime.  The letters range from the abrupt commanding officer’s notification of grief-stricken relatives of the death of a loved one on Iwo Jima, to heartfelt efforts to explain why wars are necessary, to expressions of love — son to parents, father to son, and husband to wife — written in the shadow of likely death, to more humorous descriptions of the life of a soldier.  It is impossible to read even a few of the letters and not be moved by the sacrifice of those who have fought on our behalf.

As poignant as most of the letters are, my favorite is the letter from Fred, a young man who wanted to let his family back on the farm know about the wonders of the Jeep and how it could make old Kate — no doubt the family plow horse — “look sick.”  It is somehow reassuring to know that, among all the death and devastation and trauma of World War II, one stalwart Ohio farm boy was focused on the future and how a rough and tumble vehicle could make his life in the fields a bit easier.

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (VIII)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (VII)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (VI)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (V)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (IV)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (III)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (II)

Public Art At The Ohio Statehouse (I)

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Portion Control

Last night we went to dinner at Shish Kebab, a Turkish restaurant selected by Dr. Science.  It was a very nice place with good food, but the portions were enormous — too much, I think, for any person with a normal appetite to finish in one sitting.

This scenario has become all too common.  Has anyone else been troubled by the fact that dinners at too many American restaurants consist of large platters groaning with impossible amounts of food?  We aren’t all contestants in competitive eating contests, or NFL linemen chowing down after a hard-fought game.  Those of us who were raised to be members of the “clean plate club” when we were growing up face an impossible predicament when confronted with such dinners.  Either we clean our plate and depart waddling and uncomfortably glutted, or we leave a significant amount of food on the plate and have to deal with the voice of the inner Mom, reminding us of starving children in Asia, for the rest of the evening.

Why do American restaurants so often serve such knee-buckling amounts of food?  Do they believe that quantity wins out over quality?  Or, in this recessionary period, do they think that diners are looking to maximize the food bang for the food buck?

C’mon, restauranteurs of America!  Give us a break!  When so many Americans are battling weight issues, we need you to exercise a bit of portion control.  Serve reasonable amounts of well-cooked food for a reasonable price, and let us leave satisfied, but not full to bursting like Mr. Creosote of the Monty Python sketch.