Letter to the editor: Pondering the future of a hallowed motto

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To the editor:

This essay’s antepenultimate paragraph makes a brilliant observation, namely that people caught between loving and hating the Confederate battle flag exemplify "a sad reminder of the deep and unhealed divisions that have plagued our country since the Civil War." ("Confederate flag’s unintended consequences," Page A6, Aug. 6)

The War ended in 1865 — 155 years ago. At the rate we’re going, it will take until 2175 — another 155 years — for the country to be whole, if then.

The First Amendment has allowed us to express and teach in the classroom our own narrative of American (including Southern) history and symbolism. In contrast, totalitarian regimes "re-educate" the losers in wars, such as our Civil War, in training camps.

Our national motto is "E pluribus unum" — From many, one. It originally meant: From many states, one country. But does it also mean: From many people, one nation? In order to heal, we must answer the latter.

Earl P. Williams Jr.

Washington, D.C.