I was listening to something on the radio the other day and they were talking about our national treasures.

The scenario was what if the nation was under some sort of invasion or attack — what are some of the items of such national importance or significance that we’d wanna make sure to protect them?

I suppose some of those things would be historical documents, priceless art and other items of deep cultural significance.

Well it got me thinking ... What if Rome was under attack or invasion. What are some of the things so culturally important to our community that we’d want to protect in our darkest hour?

So I came up with a list. And of course this is just my opinion but these are some of the things that (within reason) we might try to preserve at all costs so that they’re not lost or stolen or damaged.

1. The Berry College eagles. This community has obsessed over those eagles for YEARS. We’ve watched them build and rebuild their nest, lay eggs, raise babies; we’ve seen those babies eat fish and squirrels and grow to leave the nest. And we keep watching them 24/7 on that live cam. We’re emotionally invested in those eagles at this point.

2. The fountain at the Town Green. People will RIOT if anything happens to that fountain. Where else will half of Rome take their children to play in the summer?

3. Truett’s Chick-Fil-A. This building contains not only the Lord's chicken but also the efficiency and customer service knowledge we’ll need to rebuild our society should a catastrophe befall us.

4. The Capitoline Wolf. This is an icon of our city and should probably be protected. However, can I ask that we also preserve the ACTUAL story of how Rome got the Capitoline Wolf? Because some people still incorrectly insist it was a gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini himself, despite being told otherwise. According to Selena Tilly at the Rome Area History Center, the Capitoline Wolf statue was sent to Rome by the Chatillon Corporation’s main office in Italy. It was to be placed in front of the office here in Rome. The American investors in the company did not want to use the wolf statue; instead they wanted something that was uniquely American that they could use for the new plant since it was the first one in the United States. It sat in a warehouse for almost a year and a half as the investors and the plant manager got in touch with the Chamber of Commerce here in Rome. They concocted the idea of giving the statue to new Rome as a gift from old Rome. They contacted the Roman Consulate here in the United States and secured their blessing. Mussolini did not know about the statue.

5. Christa Jackson. She’s the Dolly Parton of Rome. Christa is director of admissions and development at St. Mary’s Catholic School and she’s a legend and a treasure. People love her because of her kindness and her great love of our community. She must be protected at all costs.

6. The Shorter University Personal Lifestyle Statement. This is the document that Shorter University had employees sign to be able to work there. It basically said you’d be loyal to the mission of Shorter as a Christ-centered institution and you wouldn’t have anything to do with illegal drugs and that you would reject sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible including — but not limited to — premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality. It also says you won’t promote or encourage the use of alcohol. We MUST preserve a document that has ensured at least some of the people in our community remain unstained by sin.

7. The Clocktower. Another iconic structure. It would be tough to hide it from invaders, but maybe if we put up a sign in front of it that says “Rome Mall” then no one will go there and it’ll remain undisturbed.

8. Any of the Rotolos from Ana’s by the River. These are among our community’s greatest assets and cannot be allowed to perish.

9. Gunner the PAWS dog. Gunner is sort of the mascot of Floyd County PAWS. He came in as a stray a couple years ago and he was such a good and beautiful dog that they never adopted him out. He is very well loved and cared for by PAWS employees and is basically a county employee himself at this point. Everyone loves Gunner. If it comes down to it and our enemies force us to choose, give up City Manager Sammy Rich and keep Gunner.

10. The tennis courts. If the people of Rome care deeply about ANYTHING it’s the protection and preservation of all the tennis courts. Defend them with your very lives if you must.

Do you have any more suggestions for Rome Treasures that need to be saved in case of an emergency?

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the

Rome News-Tribune.


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