I agree, but beg to differ

Published 5:42 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

I do agree that our doughboy statue “represents a major part of our heritage.”

But so does Nina Simone’s.

Both are a testimony to the ideal we embrace each time we pronounce the pledge to our flag, “one nation, with liberty and justice for all.” Both are a tribute to the striving forces guiding us toward building this great nation our Forefathers dreamt of. One speaks of battlefields and weapons; the other one of changing from within, with words as weapon. The making of a nation, of a safe haven free from outside aggression, serves no purpose if the promise of unity, dignity and equality for all, is lost. Our future demands our vigilance on both fronts.

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The doughboy should be cherished for he symbolizes “the sacrifice for our country’s future.” It pays tribute to all the everyday heroes who live their lives to the best of their abilities, the “bed rock” of all nations.

The statue of Nina Simone is also a testimony to human courage, the fortitude of our American spirit striving to right the wrong, taking our land closer to its symbol of … “Land of the free, home of the braves.” For it takes great courage to help change from within. They are no marching bands, no rousing patriotic cheers. And Nina, despite poverty, prejudice and threats, was able to be a beacon for all those who despaired.

It took great courage for a little girl to demand that her parents be included in the front of the room for her first recital, she being the only colored face in a sea of white. It took fortitude to see her dream of a classical music career dashed, and have to play in bars, cabarets: smoked filled rooms with drinking and leering patrons. It took character to change her musical focus and find her voice to battle social injustice.

So, to me, both statues are a tribute to those in our community who work toward the betterment of our society, by personal courage, dignity and hard work.

Marie King, Tryon, N.C.