Letters to the editor – July 5th, 2017

Published 8:02 pm Monday, July 3, 2017

You can’t change history

Editor, Smithfield Times
I have just received The Smithfield Times dated June 28. In it I have read some remarkable items. First let me say that statues of people are not who I generally am inspired by (except for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.) The first article was by a has-been Yankee, who indicated that Confederate military commanders should not be displayed and that he agreed with the mayor of New Orleans on the removal of these statutes. He went further to say it would hard to explain to a black child the statute of Robert E. Lee being displayed in New Orleans. 

I personally would not have a problem providing insight as to the child’s ancestors as slaves and the people that opposed slavery and those that condoned slavery. At least the child could have a visual picture of who enforced his or her ancestors’ lives in slavery.

Are these Confederate statutes any different than the Lincoln Memorial or of General Sherman or General Custer? How great of an act was it to burn Atlanta and other cities or totally destroy the great Indian plains nations. The Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of South Carolina and some not named are somewhat like the Isis Muslims of the mid-East who have destroyed many ancient historical statutes/monuments trying to wipe out history.  History is a non-changeable event. You can lie about it, praise it, expand on it, but, you cannot change the facts.

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However, one can provide an explanation as to how, when, where and why these events happened, but to remove them is an attempt to change the facts, which cannot be done.

In the same newspaper there is an article by Gene Policinski discussing the first Amendment to the Constitution. History, good or bad, is somewhat like free speech. To deny it is the first step towards dictatorship!

The article about visiting the plantation: If the parent cannot understand the school’s reasoning for these plantation visits, and the insight provided of the actual conditions that slaves had to endure, then in my mind, he is denying his child a mind-expanding learning event that could possibly have an effect on him in his future years.

Ray Baxter

Congressional Recess. Really?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I wonder how many Americans realize that Congress gets the entire month of August off for Recess. They may be back in their districts working, but they are not in DC working together on much-needed legislation like a budget. Most Americans who are not able to get their work done on time do not get holidays or vacation.   Why is it that Congress continues to fail to get the job done every year and is still allowed time off, let alone an entire month? The rest of us would be looking for a new job if we performed like they do!

I encourage everyone to write your senators and representative and let them know we expect them to do their job first before they can take a Recess.

Gregg Mitchell

Leave the monuments

Editor, Smithfield Times
I write this letter in regards to the campaign by some to remove or destroy Confederate Monuments. As I see it, The right place and context for Confederate monuments is right where they were erected, to be left in peace.

Once a people start tearing down or shoving aside monuments, especially monuments to the dead like the one in Portsmouth, where does it end? Should we be like the barbarians preceding the Dark Ages, sacking and burning? Like the Communists in the Kremlin, replacing at will monuments to past leaders? Like the Taliban, who blew up a statue of Buddha for some insane reason? Should we be like sadistic ISIS, which has destroyed ancient sites in Syria and Iraq? Should Native Americans demand destruction of the various monuments around the country celebrating the Buffalo Soldiers? After all, those Soldiers helped subjugate the Native Americans, killing many of them in the process.

Whether he was right or wrong, President Lincoln invaded the South to preserve the Union, not to end slavery. And while slavery was a terrible institution and a major cause of the War, it was not the only one. The majority of Confederate soldiers, including, and especially, General Robert E. Lee, did not fight to preserve slavery and keep blacks in bondage.

Do the revisionists think for a second that my great-grandfather from Portsmouth, as a private in General Pickett’s division, crossing that swath of hell on his march toward the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, think as his comrades around him were killed and maimed: “This is alright; after all, we’re preserving slavery and keeping those blacks in Virginia in bondage?” What a ludicrous idea!

A segment of our society and their judgmental cohorts have reached a point where they have political power. Sadly, they want to use that power in a spirit of vengeance and revenge, under the guise of being offended.

As I read in an account of ancient Crete: “Old traditions have a way of being rejected by one generation of scholars, and laboriously confirmed by the next.”

Leave the Confederate Monuments alone.

Allan C. Hanrahan

Hunters for the Hungry

Editor, Smithfield Times
Hunters for the Hungry and four other charities were honored as recipients of grants from the Walmart Foundation at a check presentation recently in Roanoke. The funds will go a long way in helping all the local charities to combat hunger here in our communities. Our $25,000 grant will help us to accept all the deer that hunters want to donate this hunting season. Our goal is to provide 325,000 pounds of meat this year, enough venison to supply 1.3 million quarter pound servings.

Walmart has been and continues to be a tremendous supporter of our effort to provide quality lean meat to people in need. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to fighting hunger here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This grant will cover the processing on 27,777 pounds of meat making 111,111 servings of quality meat available!

Since our program began in 1991, the deer hunters of Virginia have donated in excess of 6.38 million pounds of meat. This is enough venison to provide 25.5 million quarter-pound servings of this quality food! This fall we will once again be encouraging deer hunters to share their harvest with those in need. It is easy to donate. Just take your legally harvested, field-dressed deer to one of our many processing locations. For a complete list of processors and collection sites, please visit our website at www.h4hungry.org. The compassion hunters have shown for those struggling to make ends meet is to be commended.

Walmart Market Manager, Jade White expressed support for the program, saying, “Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are delighted to support Hunters for the Hungry with this contribution so they can provide food for those most in need.”

For more information on Hunters for the Hungry please visit the organization’s website at www.h4hungry.org or call 1-800-352-4868 (office) or 434-665-7657 (cell). Your help in getting the word out about this gift and our need for donations of deer would be a great help to our mission of feeding the hungry.

Laura Newell-Furniss
Hunters for the Hungry

The years go by

Editor, Smithfield Times
I’ll soon be 72 years young. I feel like 27 most of the time. Since our son Jerry Lee Bailey passed, so much has happened. How do you go on? One day at a time. Do what you can, enjoy the sunshine, the raindrops washing to earth, the cool wind blowing and a simple child or elderly person’s smile. There is a phone call, a kind letter, a card, a prayer, a friend delivering food at the right time.

Now it’s our move, to pull our boot straps high and go forward into the future. I’ve been asked to run for School Board again. Maybe. Why not? Maybe a write-in for House of Delegates or governor. (I have to wait until 2020 for president. No thinks. Only God can lead our country, our great USA.

The Fourth, just passed, should be celebrated with honor and dignity. Flying our beautiful flag high, having a cookout with family, throwing horseshoes in the backyard, looking at a family album, sitting on the front porch after super, eating a watermelon or cantaloupe in the middle of the day or gathering at the local country store catching up on the news and gossip.

Enjoying life when we were young included visiting your girlfriend down the road, watching the moonlight, listening to your favorite tunes on the radio or playing hide and seek in the evening.

Other joys include waiting for church, revivals in the spring or fall, smelling the peanuts and corn or soybean crops.

My, where has 72 years gone?

Marie Bailey

A week at a dude ranch

Editor, Smithfield Times
Last week my family took a step back in time. We spent a week at Blackwater Creek Ranch in Cody Wyoming. Blackwater is a dude ranch where you stay in log cabins built in the 1940’s and updated by Isle of Wight, Va. owners Diana and Johnie Beale. We rode horses up into the mountains, crossing streams and riding through fields of beautiful wild flowers. Delicious meals were served in a dining hall and we had a breakfast on the mountain top from provisions carried up by LeRoy the mule.

Many of the riders had never been on a horse before. Our horses were so well trained no one had any problems and everyone was ready to ride the next day. Johnie also took us on field trips to Cody to a rodeo and the Buffalo Bill Museum. We also took a day trip into Yellowstone National Park where we saw grizzly and black bears, elk, Pronghorns and enough Bison to close the road for a short time. Yellowstone was truly amazing. It was a truly different vacation.

Ann, Jeff, Reagan, and Jake Davis
Barhamsville, Va.