Poll: Are You a Fan of the Peace Candle?

Is Easton's most visibile holiday tradition something you love or hate?

Earlier this week, Easton Mayor Sal Panto announced a fundraising campaign to replace the city's Peace Candle, the giant holiday decoration placed over Centre Square's monument.

Soon after we , we got this comment:

FINALLY!!!!!!! It's still an ugly monstrosity, but at least the drippings will match the color of the candle.

How much money will they accept to keep the new one from being built?

(The "drippings" remark refers to the top of the candle, which is designed to look like it's melting. For some reason, the drippings on the current version of the candle are blue, even though the candle itself is white.)

I admit, I chuckled at the notion of someone paying the city not to put up the candle, even though I don't consider it a "monstrosity." 

Yeah, no one's going to mistake the candle for, say, the Hagia Sophia, but I like the way it brings people together . 

Still, I know that not everyone feels the same way. Thirty years ago, a group of 90 residents asked the city to discontinue the candle, calling it a "garish symbol of inner-city decadence." (That's according to the Peace Candle's pretty exhaustive Wikapedia entry.)

More recently -- in 2003 -- the Morning Call's Steve Esack wrote that he found the candle "lame," and interviewed a few residents who shared his feelings.

Nine years later, we want to know who still feels that way. Tell us in the comments, and take our poll.

Anonymous August 25, 2012 at 11:46 AM
The blue drippings do not bother me at all. You need a different color to show it. My grandfather helped to build the candle so I love to see it just the way it is. Why spend $ on something unless it is unsafe or too old. Do not replace it if it is simply to update the look. Keep the original look. It is a classic.
mcersig August 25, 2012 at 11:48 AM
The peace candle represents years of tradition in the Easton Area and has a story behind it. It is a shame that someone would even consider not putting up the Peace Candle. The person who made that comment obviously doesn't have ties to the Easton Community or didn't grow up here. I for one want the Peace Candle up so my family can enjoy the wonderful Easton tradition it represents and enjoy the evening with the Easton Community.
Pamela Porter August 25, 2012 at 01:12 PM
I find it cheesily charming. I think $25K to build a new one is a bit steep; can't local suppliers chip in some stuff?
Pamela Porter August 25, 2012 at 02:13 PM
@mcersig: I can attest that the person who made the comment about not putting up the candle is (A) a life-long resident of Easton, (B) a pretty nice guy, and (C) secretly - in his heart-of-hearts - has no problem with the candle at all. :)
Walt August 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Tom, wow I feel honored that you quoted me in an article. And to address mcersig, I've lived in Easton for 51 years. I have many ties to the community.
Walt August 25, 2012 at 02:15 PM
@Pamela I'm not nice and I really don't like that dopey candle.
Jonathan Gerard August 25, 2012 at 02:22 PM
"Tradition" is never a justification to continue a bad idea. If it were, we'd still allow the "rule of thumb" to govern a husband's right to beat his wife. The peace candle is ugly. Think of the difference between a home made garish with thousands of multi-colored lights all over the place vs. a home with a wreath on the door illuminated by a single spotlight or a lovely home with a simple candle lit in each window. It's a matter of taste. Some like subtle and simple. For others, bigger is better. Sal, try to solicit an elegant design for a new candle that will please Both Sides Now.
louis kootsares August 25, 2012 at 03:12 PM
the candle is christmas in easton ,tradition, and actually the only thing that brings me to easton during the holidays.. what else does easton have thats special? other than parking meters
Pamela Porter August 25, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I dunno, Louis - considering the reaction to some of your posts here - saying the only thing that brings you to Easton during the holidays is the candle is *bound* to result in a huge influx of $$$ to not put it up again :D
Eastoner August 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I grew up in Easton, and wouldn't feel very bad about saying good bye to the candle. But the city should be thinking about better replacement options to promote the holidays in downtown. Panto's "the year without the candle was ugliest I've ever seen" quote establishes a false choice -- the choice needn't be between the candle and some crap installation. Something better (!) could be implemented as a holiday tradition in downtown Easton. But that would come with expense, too. And whatever that might be, it should fit into whatever plans there are for reconfiguring the circle's traffic and public spaces.
Amend August 26, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Honestly, I find the peace candle charming. It's something that makes our town even more unique. Traditions have their place. They bind a community, a symbol of it's unity. And what's so awful about honoring peace anyway? Now, if were talking garish, let's discuss the hideous snowflakes that go up in the lightposts every holiday.
Chauncey Howell August 26, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Talk about "chessily charming". Right on! Pamela. You would have loved the original, in the early 1950s, awkwardly crafted by near-cretins in my highschool shop class. The bugler at the top---the flame of the candle!---was swatched in orange cellophane that was lit from within. The bugler was still very visible and appeared to be BURNING IN HELL!! So Christmass-y!. The Class of 1953, my class at EHS, quietly agreed that the candle was "dumb!" (We weren't clever enough then to have said "cheesily charming.") We didn't say it too loudly because we didn't want to hurt the feelings our classmates in shop.
louis kootsares August 26, 2012 at 03:18 AM
how many christmas gifts have you bought in easton in the last 5 years? but ,how many times have you driven to easton to see the candle? it is i believe the only one of its kind in the world,and there is good use for it commercially. every time easton has an event people come out,the candle lighting is an event,easton is progressing ,maybe in tie there will be more stores for people to shop the candle is christmas ,ugly or beautiful whatever one thinks it is .. it is an institution
another point of view August 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I read that Wikipedia offering. You are right. "Exhaustive" is an understatement. I think the article exceeds the entry for "World War II". It makes one wonder when the 500 page book is going to follow. I agree that the important part of the candle is the community gathering. But, that gathering can occur at any time around any event. I just think that too many of my fellow townspeople are becoming "candle worshipers" proven by the Wikipedia entry. I prefer to worship something else.
Bob Rabinsky August 26, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Does no one get it. It's not about it being ugly. It's about it covering a war memorial. I have writen letters before about how disrespectful it is tocover a memorial to fallen soldiers. No where else in the world is a war memorial covered for any reason. If you lost a husband, a son, brother or any loved one in Afganstan or Irac Ask yourself this question, Would I tolerate there monument to be covered? I'm sure the answer will be no Just because the boys who died during the civil war are long gone people think it ok. As far as it being called the peace candle it started out as mealy a christmas decoration. I am not against a peace or christmas decoration Just not there. Ask yourself
Chauncey Howell August 26, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Rabinsky made a very valid point. The Chairman of the committee that planned, paid for, and put up our beautiful monument, in the very early years of the Twentieth Century, was my great-great uncle Abraham B. Howell, who was the last Chief Burgess in The Borough of Easton in the 1880s, before they decided to call themselves a city, which requires a mayor. Mayor Chidsey succeeded Uncle Abe, who was a lot more colorful. Great speaker, big drinker, lots of fun, as some of the old geezers have told me. Had a valet following him to pick him up should he falter. Who else in Easton then could afford a valet? Uncle Abe lost a leg at Antietam, and, afterwards, was wounded in three other battles he limped and gimped through, so heroically. It was hard getting around on a gutta percha leg. I often wondered why Antietam is the first battle listed on the monument. Two of his brothers died in the war. And, interestingly, their cousin, Varina Howell, was married to Jeff Davis. Of the names of Lafayette grads who perished in the war, on the big monument at the top of the hill, at least 16 are relatives, including Horatio Stockton Howell, Class of 1848, and one of two chaplains killed in The woh-ah, as Cousin Varina would have called it. So, we Howells almost as big in the Civil War as we were in The Revolution. What were the rest of you mooks up to then? Shop class?
Chauncey Howell August 26, 2012 at 06:09 PM
To continue---some mook interrupted me in mid-rant and called me "Tolstoy!" Flattering. Well, I just wanted to add that "shop class" at Easton High is where this piece of adorable dumbness was created in the 1950s. I say let it stay. In fact, I sort of love it! Just as The Whitnes Museum is the only round building in Manhattan, our candle is the only major Christmas candle that is square. Sure, you can find square candles in trendy candle stores. But this one has to be the biggest square in the world!!
Dottie Benedict August 27, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I grew up in easton, pa and saw the Peace candle every year during the holidays why are people complaining if people want to complain, complain about MUSLIMS TAKING OVER ST. MARKS UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST ON 10TH AND LEHIGH STREETS. that is an INSULT to my upbringing and my RELIGION
Jonathan Gerard August 27, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Dottie Benedict, this comment is profoundly offensive. Tom--why did you allow it to be posted? Patch is not a forum for bigotry, but rather for news and information and ideas. You may have grown up in Easton, Ms Benedict--where the Declaration of Independence was first read--but the spirit and values of Easton did not grow in you.
Tom Coombe (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Hey, I'm just glad she used her real name (or what sounds like a real name), and not something like, say, "MY OPINION." Dottie, I'm not sure how it's an "insult," and the Easton-Phillipsburg Muslim Association's Presence has nothing to do with the Peace Candle.
Sandy Riley August 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM
At a time when Syria's mass grave sites are discovered, people are shooting in the streets, workplaces, theaters etc. what was the question again? This is not an over-statement, I wish that it was...Granted a "Peace" candle doesn't make it go away, but it represents the need to light the darkness of hate with a Light of HOPE that peace holds. Blue drippings an all...
louis kootsares August 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM
scanning over the comments i was born and raised in easton, easton was and i am sure still is a place where all nationalities live , i know they all like the peace candle.. many of my friends, which may be of every nationality,are as critical ,and outspoken as i am, and all i have ever heard were words of joy and good will to man when in range of the candle
Robert Rabinsky August 28, 2012 at 01:11 AM
So now were talking about muslims and other ethnic groups.. No one has answered my question. Hey lets go to washington and cover up the Viet Nam memorial or lets go to arlington and cover up the Marine memorial. Do you think any vet will mind? As far as tradition goes it was inappropiate when it started it, is inappropiate now, and it will continue to be inappropiate Never cover a war memorial
louis kootsares August 28, 2012 at 06:01 PM
robert rabinsky has one heck of a point i must say, i am pro candle.. but even when i was a small kid i wondered about that
Al August 30, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I think anyone who sacrificed their life for this country would support something that brings this community together for "good" and would not mind the statue being covered for the holiday. And by this community I am of course including Muslims, and everyone else. The reason, by the way, those Americans sacrificed in the first place was for our freedoms, including freedom of religion. As for ugly or not, it represents peace and the holiday spirit. Keep it, replace it with something nicer, it won't matter because this community is strong and getting stronger each year. The feeling on the square during the holidays comes from our hearts, not from the candle.
DOTTIE I. TRAVIS October 31, 2012 at 12:24 AM
DOTTIE I. TRAVIS October 31, 2012 at 12:25 AM
DOTTIE I. TRAVIS October 31, 2012 at 12:29 AM


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