OUR VIEW: Sirens: Boards should listen, but we side with traditionWe acknowledge that regular sirens as time signals may be annoying to some people who aren’t used to such small-town traditions.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
We acknowledge that regular sirens as time signals may be annoying to some people who aren’t used to such small-town traditions.
The Daily Republic on Saturday reported about a disagreement between Freeman resident Murray Preheim and the council of that Hutchinson County city.
Freeman marks the time with sirens at noon, 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Preheim has asked the council to stop that practice, but his request has gone unfulfilled.
We can understand Preheim’s annoyance with these regular whistles. Although he has been in Freeman for a decade, he is used to living in other places, including New York City. He told The Daily Republic that he came to Freeman to get a little peace and quiet.
He moved some 1,500 miles, but perhaps moved even farther in terms of tradition, and we suppose, even in terms of time itself.
Freeman is not unique with its whistle-blowing schedule. Many small towns in this region still mark the time with toots of the town horn. In Wessington Springs, for instance, the whistle blows at noon, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., and in days past, children were trained to listen for the whistles to know when to report home.
Times are different today. Most kids carry cellphones, and businesspeople know full well when it’s time to break for lunch.
However, if enough people in area towns feel sirens should be silenced, then councils and town boards should at least listen to their requests and consider such a motion during a public meeting.
That said, we aren’t prepared to call for the end of time-keeping whistles in small towns. We just can’t do it, even though we know there really aren’t many good reasons to continue the practice.