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Vermont takes a stand on the Wilderness Wal-Mart
SIX HUNDRED miles of highway
The 1st Vermont suffered 1,200 casualties at the Wilderness, but managed to hold important ground for the Union while suffering the Green Mountain State's largest losses of the war.
Though unnamed in the resolution, the "big-box store, likely to attract ancillary stores" mentioned is, of course, Wal-Mart. The Bentonville, Ark., behemoth would like to open a 139,000-square-foot "supercenter" on ground where soldiers died trying to win the Wilderness.
Vermont is no stranger to pitched fights with Wal-Mart. The state didn't fall to the mammoth retailer until 1993--the last state to yield ground-- and it forced Wal-Mart to forgo big boxes in favor of smaller-scale stores.
No one dismisses Orange County's need for revenue or Wal-Mart's right to grow. But must the store occupy historic ground? As the Vermont resolution says, "The story of the Battle of The Wilderness is one of valor for both armies that fought there." Now, will commerce recognize that and take a second seat? Battlefields can't be moved. Big boxes can.