My name is Steve Thomas. I have lived in Hickory since 1970. This will be only the second time in that period that I have addressed a letter to anyone at the Record. I am writing in response to your article Sunday about the placement of the proposed Miracle mural, at the end of which you wrote, "I can only imagine how the polio survivors feel."

I am a polio survivor. I am a member of the Piedmont Post Polio Survivors group. (I, and several members of this group, also served on the 75th Anniversary Miracle of Hickory Planning Committee.) I was among the people who made presentations to the city council at their May meeting, in my case on behalf of the survivors group.

After our presentations in May, we presenters and the many members of the polio group and the planning committee who were in attendance waited to hear the council's response. There was none. They just moved on to the next agenda item.

On the afternoon before the June council meeting was to take place, I received information that there might be a vote on this matter that evening. So, I went to the council chamber. Although it was not on the agenda, the mural was brought back up at the end of the meeting. After some discussion, it was moved that the mural be placed on the back of the Hickory Music Factory building. I was astounded. It was the planning committee which had developed the idea, interviewed potential artists and selected one -- a Hickory native -- approved his design and worked on arrangement to pay for this and other commemoration projects we have in mind.

In other words, IT WAS OUR PROJECT.

As the discussion continued, it was somehow determined that the council should have input into the content of the mural itself and a further motion to that effect submitted. Both motions were approved.

I came home and told my wife, "The city council is trying to hijack our mural."

In fairness, I should add that the city manager came to the planning committee the next Monday and acknowledged that it was our concept and that we could put it in the form we wanted and wherever we could find a wall whose owner would allow it.

In my presentation to the council, I emphasized that we wanted this mural installed where the most people could and would see it and wanted it done in this memorial year.

This is how the polio survivors feel and just what you said in your article.

Steve Thomas

Hickory, NC

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