Should Wyoming Town Remove Swastikas From Building? [POLL]
Thermopolis, Wyo. is an incredible place. Hot Springs State Park, the Legend Rock Petroglyph Site, and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center rank among the very best attractions in the region. There is also a row of swastikas on one of the biggest buildings in town.
Now occupied by the Four Winds Trading Post, the historic two-story brick building on 509 Broadway Street was constructed in 1917 and originally served as the town post office and county courthouse. Before the swastika was adopted by the Nazi Party in Germany, it was used as a symbol in many cultures, including the Shoshoni tribe on the nearby Wind River Reservation, who considered it a sign of good luck.
In the building's early days, the symbol that later came to represent genocide was a signal that the Shoshoni were welcome in Thermopolis. In spite of its current controversial connotation, many locals consider the emblem to be a cultural artifact. Others are shocked when they see the building, particularly visitors who are unfamiliar with the history of the area and consider the symbols to be deeply offensive.
To date, there has not been an organized movement to remove or cover up the emblems. In my opinion, there should be. Regardless of what it was originally intended to stand for, the swastika has been a symbol of hatred for the past 80 years. Thousands of brave soldiers, some from Thermopolis, gave their lives fighting the Nazis and, in my view, their emblem should not be on public display, in spite of what it once represented. The brick facade could be easily altered or replaced in a way that honors the rich cultural heritage and history of the area.
But that's just my opinion. Let's hear yours.