Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall is not taking lightly the proposed construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter within a mile of the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. The 78-year-old actor has teamed up with two Congressmen to oppose the big box store and help preserve the sanctity of the area. From the article,
Mr. Duvall and others, including Reps. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, and Peter Welch, Vermont Democrat, cited the sanctified ground of battle in arguing against the Wal-Mart. “Those young men who died, many of them are still out there in graves known only by God,” Mr. Poe said. He said 60 percent of Texas’ 800-man force at the Wilderness was killed or wounded. For Vermonters, the death toll of 1,234 on May 5, 1864, amounted to 16 percent of the state’s total combat deaths for the war. “This hallowed ground must be protected and preserved so that future generations of Vermonters can appreciate our state’s crucial role in saving the Union,” Mr. Welch said in prepared remarks.
Wal-Mart has argued that its proposed 138,000-square-foot store will not diminish the battlefield — but we have to wonder if it’s really worth the PR battle to go through with this. The company has been working hard to change its image — especially on the green side of things — but placing a Supercenter so close to a national historic battlefield just seems in poor taste. As the article mentions, Disney tried something similar several years ago and got sqaushed by the bad press.
I guess we’ll see what kind of fight Duvall and his connections put up.
Thanks to Erin for the tip!