The D.C. monuments that John Mathews mentioned as "candidates for removal" should stay where they are ["Park Places," Close to Home, Nov. 12].
Mathews reduced Maj. Gen. John Rawlins's role in the Civil War to keeping Ulysses S. Grant away from the bottle. In fact, Rawlins was a respected attorney who was adjutant general and chief of staff to Grant; his army service was more than just controlling Grant's drinking. Rawlins was a man of great integrity and was widely respected in Washington. He served briefly as secretary of war before he died in 1869 at the age of 38.
Do we need a monument to such a man? Yes.
Mathews also reduces Maj. Gen. John Logan's life to one "disastrous charge" at Kennesaw Mountain. In fact, Logan also is credited with saving Raleigh, N.C., from being burned at the end of the Civil War. He also served as a senator and was a candidate for vice president. Logan was a strong supporter of public education and, as commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30, 1868, as the first Memorial Day.
Should we have a monument to such a man? Yes.
Mathews suggests that we replace monuments to these men and others with tributes to "more worthy souls," such as presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Wilson. These latter already are memorialized in Washington's architecture and engineering. That is more than can be said for most other U.S. presidents.
If we put up a monument in Washington to everyone who has made a contribution to our country or the world, there would be no room for anything in the District but monuments. We should keep our present Washington monuments, carefully place new monuments to avoid overcrowding and consider appropriate non-Washington locations for other monuments.
-- Michael Bell
Had John Mathews taken the time to research his article more thoroughly, he would never have called Ukraine's great national bard "a reputedly antisemitic poet . . . an idol of Soviet Communists . . . and anti-Polish to boot."
The Shevchenko Monument was dedicated in 1964 by former president Dwight D. Eisenhower before a crowd of some 100,000. Eisenhower then expressed the hope that the monument to this former serf would "rekindle a new world movement dedicated to the independence and freedom of all captive nations." He recognized that, not only for Ukrainians but for millions around the world, Taras Shevchenko symbolizes the spirit of national independence.
Shevchenko is responsible for modern Ukrainians' growing consciousness of themselves as a distinct people entitled to pursue their own destiny, not as an appendage to a Polish or Russian state, but as a free and independent nation in their own right. His message is not limited to Ukraine but resonates wherever subject people struggle to recover or maintain their individuality and freedom.
-- T. F. Stock
If John Mathews had done more research, he would have learned that Maj. Gen. Artemas Ward was the first commander in chief of the American Revolution. So in dismissing Ward's statue as existing only because of the fundraising efforts of Harvard alumni, he besmirched not only a distinguished individual who played a major role in the Revolutionary War but also Harvard University.
Further, Samuel Hahnemann, a distinguished German medical doctor, made important discoveries relating to quinine, which ultimately led to the formulation of his theories known today as homeopathy. But reading Mr. Mathews's article, one has the impression that he was nothing more than a quack.
-- Marta D. Olynyk