Disappointed in Visitors Center celebration

November 9, 2022

Dear All,

I felt compelled to write in response to the recent rededication of the Concord Visitors Center. I recently went to visit my mother, Mary Johnson, and she handed me the latest issue of The Concord Bridge (which is wonderful!).

I noticed she had marked an article and that she had tears in her eyes when she asked me to read it. I was quite stunned to read about the recent rededication of the Visitor’s Center and see the accompanying photos — not that this wonderful facility did not deserve to be celebrated again, 20 years later. Without my mother and Annabelle Shepherd (sadly, deceased), the visitors center would not exist. She spent years making the center possible, working tirelessly and using tremendous diplomatic and negotiating skills to bring differing (and strong) views to the table.

My mom said “I wish they had invited me.” I share that sadness. I appreciate that this was likely an oversight. At age 94 it is bittersweet to reflect on past achievements as they move farther into the distance, but to have a sense that your passionate efforts to achieve something have been forgotten is painful, indeed.

Last May, my brother and I wandered into the Visitors Center when he was visiting from Houston. We were both pleased to see it humming, welcoming and informing visitors (not to mention using the bathrooms!), just as my mom intended and envisioned and fought so hard to create. However, we were both sorry and quite surprised to see that the plaque from the original dedication, which included both my mom’s and brother’s names along with many others who made the center possible, was missing. We wondered why it was removed.

I felt compelled to share this, as it seems an important reminder that when we celebrate important pieces of Concord, we should not forget how they got there.

Sarah Compton