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Surrounded as I am by friends who range mostly from jaded to cynical, I find myself scorned and abused for my enthusiasm about the potential arising from the imaginative and controversial proposal by the Midway Museum to build a large scale memorial structure, “Wings of Freedom” on Navy Pier.

Unlike my friends, I do not have the luxury of making snap decisions based on my personal taste in architecture, guesses about environmental impact, or use of limited financial resources. So, only time will tell whether I or others in decision making roles will conclude that this project is either feasible or appropriate. In the words of Gust Avrakotos, “we’ll see.”

In the interim, I find myself guided by the thoughts of three persons: entrepreneur and San Diego iconic “city father” John D. Spreckels; the designer of modern Chicago, Washington, D.C. and the Chicago Worlds Fair; and Aristotle:

“The moment anybody appears with any proposition of a big constructive nature, the small town undertakers get busy digging its grave. Jealousy and suspicion line up the antis and knockers against any man or measure bigger than their two-by-four standards.”  — John D. Spreckels

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.” — Daniel Hudson Burnham

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  — Aristotle

The forthcoming public forums on this proposal will be enlightening for all of us — at least for those who are not rushing to judgement on what is indisputably a bold concept to memorialize the veterans, explorers, and entrepreneurs who helped create San Diego.

Bob Nelson represents the city of San Diego on the commission of the port of San Diego.

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