Rabbit display in Dedham causes controversy
DEDHAM, Mass. (WHDH) -- A local veterans group is angry over a large bunny on display as part of a public art project meant to raise funds and generate interest in the arts.
The display is next to a veterans memorial.
The sounds of Flag Day were silenced by veterans on parade Thursday.
“Usually we fire in Oakdale Square but we refused to do so,” said Frank Currin, Vietnam veteran.
Vietnam vet Frank Currin held his salute to protest Leroy -- renamed Peace -- a fiberglass bunny sculpture that went on display Sunday just feet away from a veterans memorial.
“Why isn't it down here where the playgrounds are. And they have it sitting right next to the monument,” Currin said.
The piece of public art is one of three bunnies -- soon to be 15 -- on display around Dedham.
The bunny is an iconic symbol of Dedham pottery -- part of the town's history. Leroy was created by an artist and veteran to honor a local vet who died in January.
“It's definitely been discouraging,” one Jennifer Barsamian, co-founder of Dedham Shines.
Dedham Shines says they got permission to put the bunny in the park.
“The committee that put together this monument approved the placement of this rabbit, so we were completely surprised and caught off guard when this happened,” Barsamian said.
Now, many in the town are hopping to the bunny's defense.
“I think it's fun. I think people are making a much bigger deal about it, I think they should be enjoying it,” said Millie Smart.
And even some vets have come to like Leroy.
“When the veterans want to do something, we allow them to do those things. Why can't the town of Dedham put the bunnies that show the spirit of Dedham where they want to go?” said Paul Grimes, a Navy veteran.
Leroy, or Peace, will be the topic of a public hearing on Monday.