GI Jane Deserves A Place Of Honor
More than fourteen years ago, the O’Connell Post of the American Legion decided that it wanted to honor women who served in the armed forces during wartime as it had honored men with the Doughboy Monument. The legion post began fundraisers and eventually raised enough money a dollar at a time to actually commission the statue. The woman’s statue was set to occupy a neighboring space to the Doughboy on city-owned land nearby the 100 Precinct. A local woman won the commission for the statue and her work showed a nurse in full battle gear. Most of the locals who saw the smaller version and the plans for the full-size version were impressed. The city’s artistic elite, however, was not impressed. The city’s art commission said that the statue lacked artistic credibility and therefore could not be placed on city land. The city allowed the statue to be placed "temporarily" across Rockaway Beach Boulevard from the Doughboy, where it remains fourteen years later. Now, however, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe thinks that it is time for a reevaluation of GI Jane’s status. Among the possibilities are leaving the statue in place, moving it next to the Doughboy, moving it to another city site, forcing its removal from city land to a private site or putting it in storage to rot. We think that the only alternatives for the Rockaway community are those that leave it in place or reuniting it with the Doughboy Monument. Anything other than those would be a slap in the face to the women who served the military, to the American Legion and to the Rockaway community.