In 1960, The Torch of Friendship monument in Miami was built to signify the passageway for all of Florida’s friends coming from Latin America and the Caribbean. The gas fed flame was meant to act as a welcoming beacon for all new and old immigrants to the nation.
Four years later it was re-dedicated to the memory of one of America’s most beloved presidents, John F. Kennedy Jr. The burning torch sitting 18 feet above Biscayne Boulevard was then said to be an extension of the burning candle then burning at the fallen president’s gravesite in Arlington.
Now days, the candle just doesn’t burn at all! Everyone seems to have a different theory as to why the flame hasn’t been burning the past few months. Some say its Miami’s way of expressing disgust with the war going on overseas in Iraq and Iran.
Others say that so much construction is going on in Downtown Miami that one or more of the pipes leading into the torch were damaged.
So many new projects are going on along Biscayne Blvd. due to the expansion and renovations that it is highly likely that the gas was either turned off or is being redirected to a different connection.
The most popular theory is that somebody just didn’t pay the bill! If you go along the area designated for the park and ask who is responsible for the torch you will see hands pointing in a million different directions. Put simply, nobody knows who’s responsible for keeping the torch burning bright.
The gas company, Peoples Gas, is the supplier of fuel to the torch. The funny thing is that they don’t know who’s responsible for the torch as well. This beautiful monument has signified so many things throughout the years in Miami, but nobody knows how or why the torch went out.
The only thing that can almost be pinpointed is the when. In early 2006 the torch remained unlit for almost the entire year. Nobody seemed to care about the tourist’s disappointment as they walked up to the wall and saw the flame had been put out.
At the present time, the torch burns bright once again. For how long is the important question!
Miami has held so many important events in front of the Torch of Friendship, but yet somehow has lost interest in something as simple as whether it is
lit or not. It’s time to wake up and realize that if this city is going to prosper in the near future it needs to keep the ties that it already has burning strong!