The controversy over Silent Sam standing on the UNC Campus is difficult for me. Yes, I agree with the concept of removing statues that honor treason and slavery. But here is the rub. As a Vietnam veteran, Silent Sam represents something else to me. I too fought for a southern army that was doomed to lose. The army we fought and died for in the rice fields was corrupt, it committed crimes against its own people, enslaved some and distorted the concept of democracy.
Was Silent Sam, like one of us, swept up in a war with no real knowledge of the civil rights meaning of his participation but standing in harm’s way for fear of Confederate retribution against him, the feeling he was doing the right thing or avoiding family humiliation? Yes, Silent Sam should be moved, but he must go to a place of reverence for all of us to look at him and remember about all those Sams who get swept into wars and paid an awful price that was beyond their control.
Paul J. Giannone
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Kudos to the author of “ Fighting not for the flag, but the Constitution” (Sept. 26) for his eloquent expression of what it is like not to have been born into the advantages of white preference. Regardless, he continues to believe “that America will one day live up to the true American dream.” Having experienced “the American dream” from a white perspective, I share his hope that one day the dream will be equally available to all Americans.
Unfortunately, Trump has transformed the American dream into the American nightmare. The author is “saddened that this Commander in Chief does not understand.” How could he possibly understand military service, having avoided it himself? How could he know how it feels to overcome the impediments that some Americans face to realize the American dream? We can only hope that it will be possible to repair the damage he has done. Perhaps then the nightmare can end and America can become great for all its citizens.
Ronald E. Keeney
Puerto Ricans Americans too
I find it unbelievable that with Americans in Puerto Rico without water, homes and power, our president is spending time tweeting about the NFL. I heard today that there is a hospital ship in Norfolk that could be sent there immediately. There are people needing dialysis, babies needing incubators, operations needing to be performed, and no power or sterile water available.
The Americans in Puerto Rico may not be able to vote, but they are Americans, and they need our help now, not when the whim hits President Trump. The Coast Guard and the Navy could be sending ships to help. When the Puerto Ricans decide to come to the mainland because their island is no longer habitable, will they be turned away, even though they are Americans? I wonder about that.