Letters to The Editor 06-24-20

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A compromise on monument


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

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I suggest a compromise for the future of our Civil War monument now standing in “Monument Circle” in front of our historic 1801 courthouse building. This may be acceptable to all concerned: We transform our monument into a War Memorial honoring ALL Isle of Wight County soldiers, sailors and airmen, male and female, who sacrificed their lives in time of war.

A similar memorial already exists in Smithfield at the corner of Commerce and West Main streets. Here are emplaced memorial bricks inscribed with the names of our county’s fallen from the Revolution up through our more recent overseas engagements. But I think this memorial would be more properly placed in the geographical center of our county where our officials have met for over 200 years now.

We would only have to make a few changes to the edifice in Monument Circle.

First, we remove the figure of the Confederate soldier from the top of the column. Not destroy it by any means but simply move it and put it on display in the Isle of Wight County Museum. I think this would be most appropriate and acceptable to all citizens who value our county’s proud military history.

The rest of the monument should be left intact except for a few minor things. For example, the inscription “Confederate Dead” could be easily re-inscribed as “County Dead” and the phrase “… wore the gray” in one of the poems might be changed to read simply “… wore the uniform.” This would make the verses apply to all military men and women.

Secondly, the two small crossed flags could be covered by a plaque or tablet explaining the origin of the monument and its transformation into a county memorial honoring all its men and women who fell in all of America’s conflicts.

And lastly, we ask the Monette family, who so generously gave us the memorial in Smithfield, to allow those wonderfully inscribed memorial bricks there to be moved and rededicated at the “new” War Memorial in Isle of Wight Courthouse. The beautifully columned tribute in Smithfield could be rededicated as a Veterans’ Monument to honor living and deceased military veterans and perhaps even include the heroic first responders of our county.

I know this is a lot for us to think about. But perhaps now is the moment in the 400-year history of our county to heal old wounds and come together as brothers and sisters to honor all of our fallen and to move forward in the spirit of friendship and compromise.

Maybe our supervisors could put this proposal on their agenda for a public hearing to see what everyone thinks about it.


Albert Burckard




‘Blatantly political’ omission by paper


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I am writing to express great disappointment by the lack of coverage in The Smithfield Times regarding the Tuesday, June 23, Republican primary. This omission is blatantly political and a slap in the face to every Republican in Isle of Wight County and Surry County, of which there are many.

One of the traditional responsibilities of the press is to highlight our democratic process and ensure that voters have access to the information they need before selecting their representatives. As a media outlet that was once held in high esteem, The Smithfield Times has fallen deep into the swamp of political degradation.

The Isle of Wight County Voter Registrar’s Office announced a change in one polling location for the June 23rd Primary. Those who would normally vote at Good Shepherd Catholic Church were redirected to the Smithfield Center to cast their ballots. This news certainly warranted a mention in the local paper, but there was not a word.

It is my hope that, going forward, the editors will give a slight amount of deference towards unbiased reporting of electoral processes.


Michael Kemp


Isle of Wight Republican Party


Editor’s note: The notice of the change in polling locations was published on Page 8 of last week’s edition.



Primary should’ve been on front page


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I am very disappointed at The Smithfield Times’ lack of coverage and reporting in the June 17th

issue regarding the June 23rd Republican primary. This is outrageous, appears politically motivated, and certainly disrespectful to the very large group of Republican voters in Isle of Wight and Surry counties. This intentional snub of inclusion should draw concern from all who believe in a fair democratic election.

The Isle of Wight County Voter Registrar’s Office announced an important change for the

Cypress Creek Precinct polling location, affecting thousands of registered voters. An issue of this magnitude certainly warranted a front-page article. This is a dereliction of the trust and duty that we the people have given. I am saddened to have now lost such trust.

I hope that there will be an improvement from the editors in fair coverage of We the People’s

elections and that censorship and political bias will be left out.


Bill Yoakum


Isle of Wight County Republican Party




Ham operators plan Field Day


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Amateur Radio has 20,465 licensed operators in Virginia, and there were 761,806 in the United States as of June 5. (Source ARRL: http://www.arrl.org/fcc-license-counts)

On the fourth full weekend of June 27 and 28, thousands will be involved in what is called Field Day. In all the years prior to 2020, they’d meet at various locations in each state, but with the current pandemic, many will opt for the virtual Field Day, operating from their home base stations.

More than 40,000 licensed operators will set up their temporary stations or operate from their home stations. Members of ARRL collect points for attendance. During this event, manufacturers show off new technologies — either equipment, antennas or other interesting items — and actively communicate to other operators via their sophisticated equipment.

One key function of Amateur Radio is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, or ARES, which is stood up during major catastrophes like dangerous weather or like what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. Ham Operators, a nickname they’ve had even since 1909, engage in delivering urgent communication throughout the U.S. from one licensed operator to another, many of whom can operate on emergency generators if necessary. For more information on Amateur Radio visit ARRL.ORG or for information on Field Day, visit http://www.arrl.org/field-day


Dave Minyard