The Sword And The Loan

Well, it took him four decades, but a Massachusetts man has returned the bronze sword of General William Shepard after stealing it from the general’s statue in 1980.

Cindy P. Gaylord, the chair of Westfield’s Historical Commission, said a man contacted the city hall saying he had the sword stolen from the town’s statue of Gen. William Shepard in 1980, the Springfield Republican reported on Sunday.

Gaylord agreed to give the man anonymity if he returned the bronze sword and arranged for him and his wife to drop it off at her home, she said.

I wrote for my college newspaper, and we would go to Pizza Hut once every few weeks and have dinner on publishing day. Before leaving, I would put a dollar into the juke box and choose Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” four times before leaving the restaurant. I still feel remorse. True story.

“He had a great deal of shame and remorse,” Gaylord told the newspaper. “He is a veteran and told me the fact that he did this to another soldier troubled him. He wants the story printed to remind people that something you do in your youth could haunt you for the rest of your life.”

Shepard was born in the area in the 1730s and fought as a militiaman and soldier in multiple wars, including the American Revolution. The town erected the bronze statue of him in 1919.

Eh, all of us make mistakes, especially when we’re young. I give the man credit for owning up to his mistake and delivering the sword in person. That could not have been easy.