To the editor:

When the issue of statue removal was raised back in 2014 I said, “Remove it or not.  I don’t care.” The statue had no meaning to me.

I now have a deeper understanding of the effects of the statue’s presence.

Several weeks ago, in the midst of the current pandemic, businesses closed and gatherings for everything from schools to sanctuaries were prohibited in response to COVID-19.

Facebook was filled with pros and cons as to the legitimacy of the government’s actions. One posting caught my attention. A picture of people being unloaded from cattle cars by Nazi soldiers. The caption’s tenor? “Go here, go there, don’t worry everything will be okay.” History tells us what happened to those millions of the people being transported as if they were cattle.

My reaction was anger. My father, along with millions of other men and women, fought against the Nazi reign of holocaust. I once drew a swastika on a piece of paper. Dad saw it and explained to me what it meant to him and asked me never to draw it again.  

That picture, of people sent to slaughter, being used as a symbol of someone’s perceived truth caused me to think of the cost so many paid to rid the world of the Nazi culture. Also, the ultimate cost people paid, because of their heritage or a perceived weakness – their death.

So, as the question of Robert E. Lee’s statue is being debated I care what the statue symbolizes – subjugation, repression. It needs to be removed. It symbolizes enforced servitude and represents a culture that represses people’s lives due to “who” they are.

These are the thoughts and words of a 72-year-old who has enjoyed, and profited from, the privileges our culture affords me, simply because I am white and male.

Dan Leslie


To the editor:

First of all, we all need to give Martha Andrus a round of applause for what I think is one of the best written features that I have ever read in any newspaper anywhere at any time. Thank you, Martha, for a story that was written based on fact rather than emotion.

In regard to all the turmoil that we are facing as a nation, I think we all need to step back and take a deep breath and look at where we are headed as a people. For the last decade it seems, our political leaders on both sides have spewed nothing but hate for anyone with an opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs, and unfortunately, it seems to have filtered down to the rest of society. Friends and neighbors, this has to stop! We all share a lot of things that make us united as one, and yet there are things that are unique to each one of us that makes us different. Not better or worse, just different. For us to be a truly inclusive society, we have to embrace the things that unite us while all the time respecting each other’s differences.

I applaud Mr. Yates and the parks board for wanting to erect a monument is memorial to black citizens of Murray. I think one of the first persons that should be honored is Mr. Leon Miller. Anybody that knew Mr. Miller had the utmost respect for him. I understand that it will be built with private donations and placed on public property. This is the same as the monument on the Square. If we are truly inclusive, isn’t there room for both in a county that covers over 400 square miles?

Finally, in regard to a letter from Mark Blankenship that appeared in the June 12-14 edition of the Ledger & Times. I have known Mark for years and have always considered him a friend, but I am highly offended and honestly mad as hell that he would stoop to calling me or anyone else a racist because we choose to honor our ancestors whether or not we agree with what they did or didn’t do in their lifetime.

In conclusion, don’t try to hide or alter history because if you ignore it, you are doomed to repeat it!

Dan Galloway


To the editor:

While there are some who have no problem proclaiming their racism, many others use sophistry to try and avoid the label. We should be pleased that someone new to our community is leading the movement, favored by a large majority if the numbers on the competing petitions are any indication, to relocate the statue. What the speaker in support of keeping the statue and many others have said is we don’t need someone who has recently joined our community telling us what to do with our heritage.

How long would they suggest it take for anyone whose ancestors were born into slavery to be offended by a monument honoring those who fought to perpetuate that wretched institution?  

I too grew up with the myth of the lost cause and the idea that slavery was only one of several issues that caused the war.  I have learned better.  It should be obvious that the war would never have happened without the chattel system that allowed one man or woman to own others and chain them, whip or cane them, sexually abuse them, call the law to track them down with bloodhounds if they ran for their freedom, and sell them down the river away from their spouses and children.  

I realize that it may take some time to go through the legal process necessary to relocate the statue. Now is the time to begin.

Bobby Copeland


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