“Lest we forget.” It is a saying we hear about in cemeteries. It’s about not forgetting those who gave their life’s work and their lives for their country in wars throughout history. It is good to remember their cause and their sacrifice. Were some of their actions and causes wrong? No doubt. But in their time period, it was appropriate and right for their thoughts and actions.

Today, some want to wipe out any thoughts of memories — think monuments — of the leaders of other times. Many were well-educated, with a strong sense of civic duty. The saying goes, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

A hundred years from now, nobody might know what slavery or racism is. Then, someone who has never heard of the practices might think: If I put down a certain group of people and make them my slaves, we will be better off. Why such thoughts? Because the history of it will have been wiped out of our minds.

Has anyone tried this before — to wipe out history or statues? Mao, Hitler and Stalin tried. What was the result?

We are supposed to trust the wisdom of the protesters in Seattle. Some of the property being destroyed in the U.S. belongs to people who had nothing to do with past evils. Fifty years from now, if there is still a United States — or thousands of autonomous zones — people might decide that our current protesters were evil and wrong, and that their history should be wiped out and forgotten.

Jim Swarr

East Hempfield Township