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Friday, May 4, 2012

Dudley changes town motto |

Here's a short story about adoption of a motto for Dudley, Massachusetts, that's punctuated with comments about its meaning--and how to punctuate it.

The motto, as finally adopted:
All was others; all will be others.
That statement was inscribed (with a capital A on the second "all") above the employee entryway of a mill wheelhouse built in 1859. The chair of the town's historical commission said:
It was a way to remind them every day that their position in life is that we're just a moment; there were things before us, and there will be things after us.
Before the town Board of Selectmen adopted the motto, there was much discussion about punctuating some words with an apostrophe, to make them possessive, and whether the semicolon or a comma would be more grammatically correct.

The chair of the historical commission said:
The nice part of this motto is it creates discussion. I like it without the possessive, and that is how the granite is inscribed.
The commission chair, again:
We have a responsibility to know what was before us and to prepare for what is coming after us.
Or, perhaps, as George Santayana said:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
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