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Letters to the editor — Sunday (7-12-2015)

Monument should reflect past & future

My students will tell you that Salisbury’s Confederate monument has been a subject of fascination in my classrooms for years. This past week I’ve been inundated with inquiries concerning the statue. Mark Wineka wrote an admirable article illuminating the statue’s history. He suggested the statue contributes to our town culturally, but admitted the hypocrisy of that statement considering the debate over the Confederate flag that uses similar language to maintain a symbol of racism.

I will go further than apologizing for Fame. She must stand lest we forget our painful past. Some would have us forget the oppression of African Americans over hundreds of years of slavery and segregation. Without our history we cannot possibly understand our current racial crisis.

We have a guardian angel compelling us to remember. She stands vigil over Salisbury so that we don’t whitewash our history. Like the flag, our angel has symbolic meaning. Unlike the Confederate flag, the monument’s symbolism can be re-appropriated.

Mr. Wineka concluded by asking, “Why can’t we see it as our newest monument paying tribute to those who have fought in all wars?” To answer, we cannot, yet, because the monument lauds itself as being dedicated to the Confederate dead and goes so far as exalting the Confederate “cause.”

A century after its construction, it’s time for the monument to reflect Salisbury’s racial progress. This could be accomplished by adding a plaque that recommissions Fame for the fallen in all American conflicts, addresses the numerous Union soldiers that died in Salisbury during the Civil War, and acknowledges the racial controversy of such a statue.

This statue must stand as beacon of hope for our future by reminding us of our prejudicial past. If we do nothing to acknowledge that past, it will stand as a constant symbol of our ever-racialized community.

— Bob Johnsen


A beautiful tribute

Regarding the topic of “Fame” or the Angel, or whatever you want to call it:

This statue is a beautiful tribute to a lot of family members. I think this has all gone way too far. It didn’t seem to bother anyone a couple of weeks ago. But someone had to start the divide over the statue.

If we are going to get rid of Fame, let’s not stop there. There are plenty of places here in Salisbury that helped with the Underground Railroad. Families put their lives on the line to help others get to safety. I guess that is OK to stay.

We need to all come together and understand, we were not here when most of these things happened, but it seems like we have to always have something for someone to be offended by.

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone. Just asking.

— Nancy Whaley


Selective memory

Thanks to Jeff Long (Letters, July 5) I now understand that the Civil War was caused by Northern greed. Entrepreneurs from Northern states wanted to replace slave labor with expensive Northern-made farm machinery. A complicit federal government invented moral issues like the abolition of slavery to motivate the populace into fighting for what was really an economic plot. In the same issue of the Salisbury Post was Jonathan Merritt’s article on the tendency of those who lost a conflict to ignore details and cast events in a light more favorable to their cause. A history professor named the phenomenon “social amnesia.” Mr. Long’s version of events transforms the great 19th century conflict into the War of Southern Amnesia.

— Pete Prunkl


A worthy program

The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program has dramatically improved my son’s life this past school year and I hope the state Supreme Court will decide to uphold the program — hopefully in the next few weeks.

My wife and I knew we needed to find a different educational setting for our son, Dash, when we began noticing how he was struggling socially. We saw our child go from an energetic boy to one who was enduring bullying at school, had a lack of friends, and never received enough assistance in the classroom when learning new concepts.

We were not going to let him become another failed statistic. Our family was really struggling to figure out which school setting could best help Dash when the Opportunity Scholarship Program came along.

I will never forget how excited our family was when we found out Dash had been awarded one! Since being at his new private school, my son’s grades have improved greatly in just one semester.

For the first time, he was excited every day to go to school and eagerly showed me the work he’d done upon getting home in the afternoon. Dash was even invited to a classmate’s birthday party for the first time, which was definitely a big highlight!

My family and I want to say thank you to our legislators who continue to make the Opportunity Scholarship Program available for kids like Dash who need a different option. Supreme Court Justices, please help make sure it stays a reality for families very soon.

— Silas Dixon





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