Fo­cus on the fu­ture of Rich­mond’s chil­dren

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - OPINIONS -

WAYNE SWATLOWSKI.

RICH­MOND.

EDI­TOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

“You can’t change his­tory, but you can learn from it.”

The stat­ues on Mon­u­ment Av­enue rep­re­sent a time in his­tory that was im­por­tant to our state and to our coun­try. It rep­re­sented a time that none of us, and none of those on ei­ther side of the con­flict, would ever want to re­peat again. It al­most de­stroyed our coun­try and wasted so many lives on both sides. Hun­dreds of thou­sands died. But at last slav­ery was abol­ished.

We all have heard the ex­pres­sion, “Those who for­get his­tory are des­tined to re­peat it.” These are sim­ple but wise words. This is why I, as a Jew, don’t want the con­cen­tra­tion camps of Europe to be turned into lovely parks for a Sun­day pic­nic. And this also is why our his­tory, no mat­ter how tragic and flawed, must be re­mem­bered and taught, so those who come af­ter us can be bet­ter and do bet­ter and un­der­stand the value of free­dom for ev­ery gen­er­a­tion. Our chil­dren don’t want to see us worn and an­gry and hat­ing each other. They de­serve a bet­ter legacy from us.

As for the stat­ues, they are wit­nesses of his­tory, there to re­mind us that we never have to lose our way again. This is my pro­posal and my wish: In­stead of de­stroy­ing his­tory as if it never hap­pened, in­stead of pay­ing mil­lions to de­stroy what we all should re­mem­ber, let us do some­thing con­struc­tive for our city. Let us take the money that would have been spent on a few stat­ues, and turn it

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