December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela’s passing is a great loss to all those who would live a life of peace. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon his legacy.

While his life leaves us with an example of peace, nonviolence and forgiveness, his greatest legacy to me is one of choice: He taught me that I can choose love over hate and forgiveness over bitterness. Most important, through Mr. Mandela’s life, I learned that this is an active choice. That sometimes you have to choose peace even when you feel great anger or frustration. That you can choose forgiveness, as Mr. Mandela did, even when you have every reason to hold on to your bitterness.

There were moments in his life when Mr. Mandela didn’t choose peace over violence. Yet his life will have a lasting legacy of peace because, despite a choice he made yesterday or last year or 10 years ago, he knew that each moment held a new choice, a new opportunity to live in peace, to choose forgiveness, to offer love. Thank you, Mr. Mandela.  

Lynda Allen, Fredericksburg

There should be a picture of Nelson Mandela in every dictionary next to the word “courage.” Mr. Mandela was a visionary who changed the course of millions of South African lives for the better. Of course, none of his successors has been close to his equal; where does one go after perfection? Mr. Mandela’s exemplary and courageous life should be a subject taught in every school in every country on the planet, not just in South Africa. His example of facing the worst that his fellow man could dish out and overcoming all to lead his people out of apartheid is one of the greatest stories ever told.

Henry A. Lowenstein, New York

It is sadly ironic that, on the same day that the death of Nelson Mandela was reported, a letter to the editor advised The Post to “clam up on this whole silly business” regarding the name of our local football team [“No buy-in for Redskins name change,” Dec. 6]. Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in jail for fighting for racial equality. The least we can do to honor his example is not be intimidated into “clamming up,” no matter how long it takes, until the name of the football team and its logo are changed from a racial epithet and stereotype.

Linda Keenan, Silver Spring