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United We Stand!

To the Editor:

Do the residents of Gates County hold a blueprint that others across our nation need to follow?

Instead of destroying all references of their past, the citizens of Gates County are instead adding a chapter to their history book.

This is in reference to Cal Bryant’s front page article – “Confederate statue will have company” – published in the Saturday, May 1 edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Upon reading the article, I learned that a committee appointed last year by the Gates County Board of Commissioners was tasked with the duties of studying what to do with a Confederate statue that has stood on county-owned property for the past 106 years.

This committee is to be commended for what they were able to accomplish. Instead of suggesting to destroy past history, they decided to allow the old monument to stand and to erect a smaller one adjacent to it with words that reflect the diversity now found in Gates County and all across our state and the world.

The new monument is entitled “United We Stand.” It says that the “citizens of Gates County value unity, racial equality, inclusion and acceptance……. who respect and love each other in spite of our cultural, religious and political differences.”

It will also say that, “Removing the Confederate Monument will not end racism. Let it serve as a reminder for who we are and who we are not. Hatred has no place in Gates County.”

This all reflects what I’ve been researching this year in both Hertford County and Gates County. Our little corner of the world is rich in history and compassion for others. I’ve unearthed a wealth of information, which I’ve found fascinating, thanks to the knowledge I’ve gained from our local historical societies and from talking to other residents of both counties.

I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I moved here in 1970 and went to work in the timber business. I’ve raised my family here and feel fortunate and blessed to live and work here.

I can truly say that the decision made by the Gates County Board of Commissioners, based upon the suggestion of that committee of six individuals, to not destroy our past history but to add to it by way of reflecting our true diversity does indeed show that we are all united, just as that new monument will promote.

May God bless our area and may God bless America!

Chip Burby

Ahoskie