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Letters to the Editor for May 10, 2022: Patience and tolerance

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Patience and tolerance

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In a recent column, Michael Paul Williams commented that “It took 39 years and six months to erect the five Confederate statues on Monument Avenue. They were all removed in 15 months.”

Perhaps the commonwealth of Virginia and the city of Richmond should have taken a longer period to consider the ramifications of their deeds. I always have been told that if you stay on top of your reactions, you will be able to develop patience and tolerance — two traits required for achieving long-term success.

I recently found an old article from The Virginian in my late father’s filing cabinet. It was written before the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue was erected.

It said “Virginia has a reputation for ancestor-worship. This ... may be good or bad. If they simply gloat over the glory of the past it results inevitably ... in stagnation. But when pride in the achievements of those who have gone before, spurs them on to emulation, then this worship is made capital from which they will receive the income of great accomplishment.”

The author spoke of Maury’s early years in poverty. He joined the Navy against his parent’s wishes. He convened the most important scientific congress of the time in Brussels; “high potentates all over the world had showered honors upon him.” And "in the field of applied science, he stands unexcelled in the history of the world."

Maury is credited for the “founding of the United States Naval Academy, of making wonderfully effective the works at the Naval Observatory, of revolutionizing commerce and saving thousands of lives with his charts of winds and currents, of making possible the great work of the weather bureau, of furnishing the brains for the laying of the Atlantic cable and other invaluable service in the realm of science.”

It took 15 months to remove all of our statues. Perhaps we need to develop patience and tolerance, so that we can achieve long-term success.

Rowland Williams.



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