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LETTER: Instead of Destroying, Try Understanding 

Let’s slow down the horses (and their riders) on Monument Avenue before we decide to destroy them.

Prompted by the debates on the Confederate flag, recent columns in Style (“Reconstruction,” Back Page by Brent Merritt, June 24) and the Times-Dispatch (Michael Paul Williams) have called for different approaches to demolish the monuments on this celebrated avenue. Were either to prevail it would set off an avalanche of destruction to the shrines that tell the history of Richmond and recognize some memorable world events.

If we were to eliminate all the representations of the disasters and misfortunes that played a role in building the city the story would be incomplete and deceptive. Erasing the symbols doesn’t change the facts.

A partial list of the memorials that might be next to fall, if all reference to adversity were leveled, includes:

• Remembering the horrors of slavery: Virginia Civil Rights Memorial at the Capitol, Slavery Reconciliation Statue, Box Brown, Oliver Hill, Bojangles.

• Holocaust Remembrance (Rachel crying for her children).

• Child tragedy: Boy on Stilts, Maymont bear.

• City violence: River of tears.

• Catastrophe: Monumental Church.

• Animal cruelty: War Horse.

• Liquor temptation: Temperance Fountain.

• Police tragedies: Harvey Burke Statue.

Would the numerous memorials and statues related to the heartbreak of war also be threatened, adding to the list?

Wouldn’t it be better to spend our energies trying to understand one another? Remember, if you give one party his rights you take away the rights of another. Let’s get off the high horse and ride together to a peaceful existence. It could bring monumental results.

Robert C. Layton
Glen Allen

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