Erecting statues of historical and important personalities is a universal phenomenon and I wonder if there is any country which is an exception to this. In
India, we find that the decision to raise statues can lead to huge political tensions and so whenever there is such a threat, the statue remains under a cloak. One never gets to see it even after spending tax payers’ money on its construction. Many times, statues are used only as landmarks and they are never appreciated or maintained. Sometimes, I am unable to identify whose statue it is because there is no sign declaring the personality and his/her work. But statues are meant to remind us about the contributions, sacrifices and ideals of the person.
One of the statues that I still recall vividly is that of Sam Houston in
. Huntsville, Texas Houston (1793-1863) became a President of the Republic of Texas, then the Governor of the State of Texas, and then a US Senator when Texas joined the Union. The city of Houston is also named after him.
Driving north on Interstate 45, one finds the statue on the right. Although one cannot stop on the freeway to take pictures, it is worth taking a slight detour and going from the back through the Sam Houston Statue and Huntsville Visitor Centre. There is a small museum and a souvenir shop. One can take a small trail that leads to the statue and one emerges from behind. Along the trail, there is a discarded part of the face and it is a spot for photo-ops. This statue is claimed to be the world’s tallest free-standing statue of an American Hero. It was built by a local artiste, David Adickes. With a height of 67 feet and resting on a 10 feet high granite base, the statue is quite overbearing. Sam Houston is shown in his formal attire holding a walking stick. On the side is an inscription that says, “Govern wisely and as little as possible”. Surely, a thought that one can chew over as one drives away.