Thoughts on a shared human experience


To the Editor:

The Confederate soldier on Sylva’s Courthouse steps is tall and straight. He is not wounded. If he were, his pain would be much like that of a wounded Union soldier. Their shared human experience would overshadow the ideologies each was fighting for.

We in the 21st Century can honor their suffering, but not necessarily by removing a statue from public view. Discussion about such a removal can rekindle old arguments – and if the statue is eventually removed, its absence can dull our memories of its war.

Consider a different statue of a soldier: one whose uniform could be either Confederate or Union, and who has been wounded. His damaged humanity can remind us of the effect of war on all soldiers, and by extension, the harm to all it touches.

Lee Budahl,



Politician or patriot?


To the Editor:

Not all of us get the opportunity to take an oath to uphold the United States Constitution. And not all of us who take that oath are true patriots. Our elected leaders take that oath, and in most cases follow it and can be considered patriots. Unfortunately, we have leaders who are merely politicians who follow the polls or surveys or advice of friends and family.

True patriots should have very little trouble with discerning constitutional issues in regard to freedom and equality for all.

If you closely listen to the rhetoric coming from our politicians as concerns Confederate memorials in public places, you should have no trouble picking the patriots.

Mike Clark,



The past cannot be erased


To the Editor:

I am writing this as a lifetime resident of Jackson County for 70-plus years.

Hey Sylva Sam, you strong, brave Confederate soldier, thank you for your dedicated service to our community. Thank you for standing tall all these years, reminding us of the Jackson County residents who fought to protect our land. For generations, these hills have belonged to the common man, much like yourself, and you fought diligently on behalf of your neighbors.

You see, there are loud voices that are calling for your removal, claiming you stood for slavery, racism and white supremacy. But tell me, Sylva Sam, how many did you know that were slave owners in this area? How many of the men you fought beside were slave owners, themselves?

The past cannot be erased; it is always with us and must always be kept in mind. If we wish to remain free, it is necessary to preserve our history. Sylva Sam, you represent strength, duty, faith and freedom – values we all hold dear. May you continue to protect these values while watching over your land for generations to come.

Thank you so much!

Harold Gribble,



Put a stop to this insanity now


To the Editor:

When Marxists begin undermining a nation, a culture, it is always the same: attack the history. In the insipid manner of the creeping left, quietly (and in this case successfully) overthrow the country’s educational institutions and begin to subvert history by vilifying heroes and slandering the culture. Now emboldened; begin renaming places and buildings, tearing down monuments, thus replacing history with the lies of their agenda.

Marxism, Communism, Socialism, whatever one labels it, are all dilutions of the same philosophy. It’s simple; a few generations go through a broken educational system imbued with leftist propaganda guided by “useful idiots.”

History viewed through the lens of the present is easily made grotesque. Any society, historical figure, ripped from context can be made monstrous. The leftists not only topple Civil War monuments, they pull down statues of Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Grant and Lincoln, Columbus. The statue of Frederick Douglass being destroyed demonstrates the left’s true agenda: to tear down Western civilization. Look to the old USSR or Venezuela to see how well Marxism works. For true insight into socialism and communism try reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago.”

It has come to Jackson County, (oh no – Andrew Jackson, the leftists really won’t like him). They want to pull down the statue of “Sam.” A monument to an unknown soldier, an American who fought to defend his homeland from a government ignoring laws and imposing inequitable taxes. “Sam,” who didn’t own slaves and most likely didn’t favor the laws that allowed for it. A fellow who farmed to feed his family and was the son or grandson of colonists who fought to be free from England.

“Sam” saw the same kind of tyranny from the federal government and it merited the same response. “Sam” isn’t a memorial to racism. Furthermore, to contend that slavery was the cause of the Civil War is like saying the cause of divorce is marriage. It’s not simple, it won’t fit on a cardboard sign or a bumper sticker.

So the petition to remove “Sam” is from someone who hides her identity. I would bet this unknown Karen isn’t from WNC and has attended a leftist university. Before we accept the revisionist history let’s think twice about abandoning our heritage, dishonoring our ancestors and apologizing for the Old North State. Don’t stand idly by until your church is violated by leftists prying Jesus from the cross or smashing the stained glass that your grandparents helped purchase. 

Put a stop to this insanity now. Make it clear where you stand; let your elected officials hear your voices.

The Civil War to be concerned about is the one approaching. Think it can’t happen; let a group of leftists thwart the electoral college and throw a presidential election, or stuff the ballot box with a mail in voter scam, burn one too many police cars, destroy a few more monuments?

This time there is no Mason-Dixon Line; it will be Bosnia, American-style.

Ronald Poor,



Saddened by recent movements 

to erase history


To the Editor:

The silent majority is no longer going to stand by and let the vocal minority change our history and way of life. Men and women have fought and died to allow our country the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

As a lifelong resident, a Vietnam era vet, graduate of WCU, retired teacher and building contractor, I am saddened by the recent movement to erase the history of the United States, and of our county by a left-wing anarchist group. This movement by ill-informed individuals who claim they are ashamed of America, Jackson County and of the Sylva Sam statue are about to find out the door they are opening is not so easily closed. If this anarchistic trend continues, there is no end to the destruction of our national and local heritage.

To the Sylva town board members who have voiced their desire to remove the Sylva Sam statue, let me say, resign your position, for you no longer share the values of residents. You are not acceptable as leaders. You are not God, therefore do not have the authority to tell us, the citizens what is and is not acceptable.I am a strong proponent of athletics in Jackson county, and proud to have been a member of Sylva-Webster football. That said, if Sylva Sam is removed, remove the plaques displayed at the Justice Center that represent “Hall of Fame athletes.” It is offensive to the athletes who have played sports who are not being honored. These unrecognized individuals are being discriminated against. Remove these items from public property. 

I am not in favor of this, but fair is fair.

If we really want to remove our history, go to our cemeteries and knock down the headstones of the descendants of slave owners, and dig up their graves. Surely that part of our history cannot remain. These officials are not representing our values but imposing their values on us. Be independent, strong, and as you so often hear from the radicals, resist.

They want you to give up your guns because they offend. If you are offended by guns, do not buy one. If the Sylva Sam statue offends you, do not look at it, or move!

Contact our commissioners and voice your opinion, our freedom is at stake. Support our police and military, for they are the only thing between you and the thugs. Defund the thugs, they only wish you and your country harm. If you do not like my opinion that is OK. For now, we still have free speech, freedom of religion, and the right to choose for ourselves and our families. Be vocal, vote, keep America free!

As the last great Democratic president said, “And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country” – JFK.

Most of the problems we face today are the result of self-serving politicians.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Eddie Greer,



Sylva fortunate to have Chris Hatton


To the Editor:

I had an opportunity to meet and talk with Chief of Police Chris Hatton last week. Sylva is fortunate to have a person with Chris’ views and integrity in such a vital position.

There’s a lot of tension in our community. As just one example of how we are fortunate to have his leadership, Chief Hatton expressed to me that his views on racial equality extend well beyond neutrality. Unlike many other local, state and national leaders, Chief Hatton willingly articulates a clear stance on racial inequality. Chris acknowledges that people of color face unique challenges related to law enforcement, and societally. He believes that law enforcement can, and should, improve their approach to addressing those inequalities. Chief Hatton shared with me that his approach to law enforcement has always been respective of specific challenges faced by people of color.

Throughout his career, Chris has been deliberate in his approach to meeting with people of color in the communities he has served and learning about their specific challenges. 

Chief Hatton emphasized that racism is absolutely not tolerated in the Sylva PD. His sincerity in this position was clear.

Regarding recent protests, and protests in general, Chief Hatton fully supports the rights of citizens to protest. He recognizes that our Constitution guarantees the right to protest peacefully and, as our Chief, he will always assure those rights are preserved by the Sylva PD.

Chief Hatton also demonstrates an openness toward communicating transparently and directly with our community and stressed that this has been his approach since long before he came to serve in Sylva. He encourages concerned citizens to contact the Sylva PD and makes himself personally available. Chris mentioned that if you’d like to show support of the Sylva PD, banana pudding or cookies are the preferred methods.

We’ve got challenges in front of us as a community related to racial inequality and other important issues. We are fortunate to have Chief of Police Chris Hatton in Sylva helping keep us safe with a fair and open mind. I believe his attitude and outlook will improve the overall approach of the Sylva PD, foster unity, and provide an example of how other law enforcement agencies can do the same in their communities.

Thank you, Chief Chris Hatton.

Brad Waldrop,