Yes, relocate monuments
EDITOR: I strongly support John Meyer’s position on moving the two Civil War statues in downtown Wilmington to a location out of the “public square.” His Sept. 2 opinion column was an objective, well-researched and rational discussion of the pros and cons of the topic. With the events in Charlottesville last year, and more recently in Chapel Hill, over these types of monuments, it is a subject that should have been addressed decades ago but as the saying goes, “There’s no time like the present.”
I am saying this as a native North Carolinian who was born in Alamance County and grew up and went to school in Guilford County. I observed firsthand the segregation (the American version of apartheid) of African Americans into their ghettos, having to use separate water fountains and toilets in department stores, ride in the back of the bus, and of course, attend “separate but equal” schools. After graduating from college in the 1960s, I joined the Air Force and served for 21 years, including flying over 150 combat missions during the Vietnam War. I returned to North Carolina five years ago and was shocked that more progress toward racial equality hadn’t been made.
The relocation of the monuments from their locations of prominence would be a sign that the city and county recognize that racism has no place here.
Larry D. Wilson, Wilmington
No, Meyer gets it wrong
EDITOR: John Meyer is wrong. His opinion piece of Sept. 2, "There's no honor in the ‘Lost Cause’ ” is off base and alarming. We are not making excuses for the institution of slavery or the life of black Americans during the Jim Crow era. Our monuments honor the men and women from our Southern states who stood up to Lincoln and what they saw as Northern aggression.
I know my Virginia relatives who fought never owned another person, but they loved their state. It is wrong to take the war and the life of the 1860s out of context to its time in history.
We all are offended by things in life. Do we tear down the Coliseum in Rome or the Greek temples because of their sordid history? People need to not be so easily offended by history. You can't make tomorrow better by tearing down and rewriting history.
Phil Spangler, Sea Breeze
Plight of working poor
EDITOR: Not long ago I volunteered to transport a woman with an infected tooth to a free dental clinic, which was open only in the evening for extractions. At least 20 people were waiting to have teeth pulled.
Around me the conversation buzzed about whether each person could go to work the next day. I soon realized that although everyone of them was employed, none had sick benefits. I asked several people sitting near me why they had to go to work even if they had several teeth extracted. Their answers were simple: if they did not go to work the next day, they would not get paid. None had paid time off, even for a medical reason. I was surrounded by the working poor.
While President Trump brags about the growing economy, no one talks about the employees who work everyday at minimum wage and cannot afford to get sick. Among the people I spoke with were a waitress, a home-health nurse and a custodian. The custodian said he was glad to have a job, even if it paid only $7.50 an hour.
Why are we celebrating glowing economic statistics while we ignore the decent, hard-working poor? These are folks who generally serve us and cannot even afford a day off when they are ill. What a terrible shame.
Maryann K. Nunnally, Wilmington
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