Letters to the Editor — June 17, 2020


Lee was no ‘American hero’

I would like to remind Joel Marks (“General Lee’s Greatness Should Not Be Disposed Of,” June 10) that General Lee resigned from the United States Army to join the Confederate Army. The Confederate Army was fighting to dissolve the Union in order to maintain states’ rights to continue the practice of white supremacy in the form of ownership of black men, women and children.

I would not call the monument in Virginia an honor to a “sacred” history.

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Boudinott were certainly imperfect men, but they never tried to dissolve the United States.

Lee led a treasonous insurrection of Southern states. By the way, they lost the war; Lee is hardly an “American” hero.

He may have been a Confederate hero, but to people of color he is a painful reminder of southern whites “putting their knee on the neck” of all black people to keep them from achieving the rights and privileges that whites take for granted.

—Marybeth Marenco

Florence

Seems strange to me

Does Germany have statues honoring Hitler? Does South Africa have monuments lauding Apartheid?

I’m sure there were excellent strategic military leaders in the Third Reich but does Germany name military installations after them? I don’t think so.

I could be wrong but I doubt it.

I find it amazing that in the U.S., many active military and veterans wearing the American flag and their branch-of-service logos on baseball caps and jackets support honoring men who, in any other country or situation, would be considered traitors for taking up arms against their own country and killing so many of their fellow countrymen.

Seems strange to me.

—Judy Kinsman

Florence

Thank you police and peaceful protestors

I was very pleased to see people coming out to support our local police department on June 10.  When invited to participate in the  Black Lives Matter rally on June 2, they drove by many times and helped participants feel safe as they exercised their free speech rights.

The Black Lives Matter rallies highlight racial inequities in everyday life and emphasize that when Black Lives Matter, then All Lives Matter. The original slogan — Black Lives Matter, Too — is important to remember.

Thank you Florence Police; and thank you supporters of our police department.

Thank you to everyone who supports community awareness and fights racism — things we can all agree on.

—Tina Haydel

Florence

All lives matter

I was born in Concord, NH in 1930, so I have been around for a while. I was not born with racism and my sister and I were raised by a mother and father that did not teach us racism.

In my opinion, racism has to be taught, not inherited.

I abhor what is going on in my country presently with all the rioting, burning, looting and killing.  What that infamous police officer did was inexcusable and he deserves to go to trial by his peers for what he did and get a just sentence.  

But likewise, those who recently  killed police officers have to be deemed under the term of racism — yet I neither see nor hear about any demonstrations for them.

Today, there were a few demonstrators at the corner of 126 & 101. When I approached them asking who was sponsoring or organizing the group, a lady pushing a baby carriage approached and said these were all students — some past, some present. 

When I asked if they were going to hold up signs saying “All Live Matter” instead of their BLM signs in regard to the murdering of the white police officers during the riots and looting, I was told that was a different subject.

Excuse me folks, but I took that as a racist statement if ever there was one.

I have had Chinese, Native Americans, Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans and Lord only knows what other nationality or religion at my dinner table over the years. 

I honestly don’t feel I am a racist by any standard. But if we are going to demonstrate, then where are the demonstrations for the four, five or six members of the Black community killed every weekend in Chicago  by other Blacks?

Black, White, Yellow, Red whatever the color of skin — All lives matter.

—Tony Cavarno

Florence

What about gang wars and shootings?

I would like to thank all who turned out for the rally on Wednesday (June 10) thanking our police here and everywhere. I’d also like to thank the man holding the sign saying, “All Lives Matter.” 

The police everywhere are getting a bad rap. They are not the bad guys; they are here to protect us no matter what color you are. 

If I was at that rally, I would have had a sign stating, “Keep our statues and protect our heritage.”

How come the protesters don’t mention the black guys, the Crips and Bloods and others who operate all over the country, including gang wars, shootings, robberies and other atrocities? 

What about all the shootings in Chicago every day? 

All this goes on all the time, but these people who would like to make “black lives matter” should mention these things. 

All lives do matter.

God bless America.

— Darryl F. Parsons

Florence

Heartened by kindness of local youth 

My brother-in-law, an expert flyfisher, has not been fishing for several years due to advancing Parkinson’s combined with recent COVID-19 restrictions.

As the weather warmed, we planned an outing to fish Cleawox Lake in his now seldom-used drift boat. About 9:30 a.m. this past Sunday (June 14), we entered the Florence Taco Bell drive through for a breakfast burrito with the drift boat trailing.

After committing to the drive-thru, we saw the extremely sharp left turn required to exit. We had no chance of successfully navigating that exit turn. We were stuck; backing up was not an option. 

As I walked to survey the situation, three young men appeared at the stern of the boat. 

One stated: “Can we pick it up and move it?” — which they promptly did. 

Problem solved in 5 seconds. 

We were now positioned to easily clear the yellow posts guarding the exit. These young men volunteered their assistance (and strength) with grace and ease. 

At a time of great uncertainty and strife in our nation, I am heartened about the future of our county when I witness such gracious, unrequested acts of service. 

I want to express my gratitude for their assistance; their families and the community can certainly be proud and optimistic about the future generation with young men such as these three who helped us quickly escape an unforeseen jam. 

They “Made the Day” for two older guys visiting Florence in the hope of catching a fish.

—Tom Fauria

Eugene

In agreement with letter writer

I am in total agreement with Matt Danielsson’s Letter to the Editor (“Important To Remember How Far Equality Has Come,” June 13).  

Although Mr. Danielsson states he was not raised in the U.S., he seems to have a much better understanding of the situation in this country than most folks, and I thank him for his clear vision. 

—Patricia Rhodes

Florence

BLM protests are about more than police

Mr. Danielson’s most recent Letter to the Editor (“Important To Remember How Far Equality Has Come,” June 13) was certainly an eyebrow-raiser. 

Especially astonishing was his statement that the United States abolished slavery by choice and not by force.

He seems to have completely forgotten the American Civil War.  Only when 600,000 American soldiers lay dead, all the Confederate armies were completely subjugated, and the South lay in ruins did slavery die in the United States.

The Civil War was the most massive display of force ever seen in North America, and no it wasn’t for states’ rights. 

It’s true that white men died to end slavery and preserve the Union, but that statement completely ignores the 180,000 African-American men who served — and served well — in the Union armies, as well as the countless African-Americans who served as scouts, spies, guides and other support staff.  

It is one of the great ironies of history that almost every other nation in the world peacefully emancipated their slaves, yet the United States — a country supposedly founded on the principle that “all men are created equal” — required a bloody civil war to root it out.

After the war, the government at first supported the former slaves. 

However, after Reconstruction they were completely abandoned. The history of race relations in this country has hardly been one of continuous improvement.

The United States did not enter World War II because of white supremacy.Remember Pearl Harbor?  

In fact, during World War II, the United States military was completely segregated. Barracks, mess halls, medical facilities and military units were all strictly separated by race.

There were very few African-American combat units because they were not deemed worthy.  It is a great tragedy that the black GIs came home to second-class citizenship and Jim Crow laws; White supremacy was alive and well in America.

I believe everyone condemns the looters and rioters; I know I do. 

The looters should not be confused with the tens if not hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters who see inequality in this country and want it to end.  

The property destruction is bad, but it is also bad that the looting gives people permission to ignore the real issue.

Although George Floyd was the flashpoint, the real issue is not exclusively Floyd’s death but rather the systemic racism in the American criminal justice system, in education and in employment; it’s not just about the police.  

What about the woman who called 911 because an African-American birdwatcher asked her to leash her dog? How about Ahmaud Arbery, the man who was murdered by three vigilantes when he was out jogging? 

Anyone paying attention to the news knows I could give too many other examples. Its easy to support the police, who by and large deserve our support.  

It’s much harder to take an honest look at our society, acknowledge the inequalities and vow to do something about it.  

We’ve heard the point of view of a white male.  Perhaps the point of view of a person of color would now be appropriate.

Vicki Philben

Florence

Learn from our past for better understanding

I believe that we need to educate our younger generations about past protests, riots and killing in our nation. 

Everyone should go onto the internet and search them out to educate themselves about cause and effect — something that should have been taught in school:

  • Watts Riots in 1965 — South Central Los Angeles.
  • Chicago 1968 Democratic Presidential Convention
  • Kent State 1970
  • “LA 92” The Documentary: The aftermath of Rodney King

Until we know what went on before we will not be able to understand and fix what comes ahead of us.

—Win Jolley

Florence

Shout out to SES music teacher

Dear Florence Friends and Neighbors: Please join me in giving a shout out to Siuslaw Elementary Music teacher Amanda Sarles, who was recently named Oregon PTA Teacher of the Year. 

Each year, a deserving educator is honored with this award. Amanda was nominated by two of her colleagues and appreciates the recognition. 

In an average school year, Amanda sees more than 600 students each week and, according to Siuslaw Elementary School Principal Mike Harklerode, “Her irrepressible energy and love for kids have become contagious in our school.” 

One of her students said, “She makes sure that no matter what level of learning you’re on you get what you need to learn. She makes me look forward every day to go to music.” 

During this strange time with alternative educational strategies and distant learning creating challenges and stressors for students, Amanda’s classes have brought joy and relief to children with her daily offerings. 

Nothing lifts our spirits or supports all our other feelings like music. Plato said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  

Thank you, Amanda, for making a true difference and being an inspiration to our students.  

—Suzanne 

Mann-Heintz 

School Board Member

(Music Lover)

Thank you for outstanding coverage

Thank you so much to the Siuslaw News for its outstanding local news coverage and journalism. 

I look forward to every edition, print and digital. 

Furthermore, thank you for the full page flag on Saturday, June 13 edition; Happy 243 Birthday Old Glory!

—Jo Beaudreau

Florence

FEC Friends need your help

We, the Board members of the Friends of the Florence Events Center, hope you and yours are well and enjoying the ever-improving weather as we head into this … unique summer of 2020.

During the mandated shelter-in-place time, our members were busy with a “rebranding” effort:  a new name and logo are in the works for the Friends, with a focus on the core goals of our Mission Statement.

We have been conducting business via USPS, email, phone, Zoom and socially-distanced document hand-offs. 

Yes, these have been extraordinary days. 

Now that the Phase Two reopening of Lane County is well underway, we look forward to staging events such as the Curtis Salgado Concert and The Winter Music Festival, Art Gallery events, awarding performance grants to local nonprofits, conducting the Indoor Yard Sale and — last but never least —  volunteering.

To accomplish this, we need your help. Your membership support will continue these efforts and keep the Friends a vibrant, essential 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

The annual membership is only $25, and we welcome business memberships. You can get as involved as you’d like, or simply enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting this nonprofit, which benefits all of western Lane County.  Contributions are tax-deductible. 

Thank you in advance, and we look forward to seeing you in person at “Florence’s Living Room.”  

—Rachel Pearson,

President

Friends of the FEC

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