Another perspective on preserving history

Published 6:35 pm Saturday, August 19, 2017

As it is in communities, homes and workplaces across our nation, differences of opinions persist almost daily. Here at The Port Arthur News, it is no different. We don’t always agree with each other on topics that affect our nation and community, but that’s OK. We understand that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. It is their right by living in a free nation. A nation defended by people who have fought to bring those rights to each of us.
For example, The News’ editor, Jesse Wright, has shared his opinion a couple of times on the removal of historical statues and monuments due to their confederate ties and perceived racism. However, I am of a different opinion.
Our history should not be something we are ashamed of. It should be something we embrace, as it was what brought us to where we are today. Unlike some countries that battle dictatorship day in and day out, not allowing citizens of their country to speak freely. We have won that right. And these monuments are a symbol of that progress.
Nations across the globe were built upon the backs and within the minds of people just like you and me, since their inception. It was built by people who were just as likely to make a mistake, as they were to create a foundation to build a successful nation. And yes, here in the United States those mistakes did happen, some that destroyed many, many lives in the process. But to remove the daily reminders of our past mistakes doesn’t change history. Nor should it.
Let’s take it a little farther. If the removal of Confederate monuments helps those who find them offensive to feel better, then where does it stop?
The Civil War split this new nation in two from 1861 to 1865. This was the timeframe that represents when many of these monuments of confliction arose. But do we then destroy presidential libraries, for past presidents, across our nation if we didn’t agree with their leadership direction?
Do we tear up the United States Bill of Rights created in 1789, because it didn’t stop the Civil War from happening? Do we throw away the U.S. Constitution because we may feel that the preamble “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union” does not include “all people?” Of course we will not.
All of this, and much more, has been part of our history. Setting the foundation for this nation to become the leader amongst leaders. We have learned from our mistakes and will continue to do so.
Our leaders will continue to make mistakes just like every other person around the world.  And we can hope that lessons learned from past mistakes will allow our leaders to make better decisions as we move our nation forward.
For a free nation created by a bunch of immigrants wanting better than what was before, we are doing a pretty damn good job. Could it be better, yes, but through whose eyes?
Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News. Contact him at

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