GEORGIA VIEWS

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

The Rome News-Tribune on the removal of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue:

The City of Rome recently removed a statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from a prominent place at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. In light of social issues that have swept the nation in recent months, the statue — and others like it — have become points of contention.

They have become a physical thing which continue to breed division.

We believe the statue’s removal from Myrtle Hill Cemetery was the right decision by the city. We recognize, more than most, the importance of preserving history and of educating the community. The city is not trying to “erase” history with this statue’s removal.

The decision to move ahead was one of a community government which values its entire constituency rather than the voices of discontent that can often be heard the loudest.

Many of these statues were erected during the Jim Crow era and are a tangible reminder of the oppression and systematic racism of the time. Unfortunately we believe that at the time they were erected, that was the intention of many — to illustrate for all to see, the idea of “better than” and “less than.”

The history behind this particular statue, and others like it, does not exist in stone. It exists in our collective consciousness. So if history is what you truly would like to preserve, that can be found in our libraries, our schools, our museums and our cultural centers. If history and its preservation is what TRULY concerns you, then there are many avenues through which to educate yourself and your children about our past.

We only hope that those who are passionately defending these statues are doing so for the right reason.

Regardless, the decision to remove the statue until it can be placed in a location dedicated to our area’s Civil War history was a sound one. It is our history and that hasn’t changed, now it will be relocated to a more appropriate place.

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The Valdosta Times on community heroes and the coronavirus pandemic:

Ashli Scruggs is a hero.

She is not the only one.

We have a lot of heroes in our community.

The word hero is bandied about a bit too much.

When you overuse an accolade, it can lose its meaning.

There is little doubt, however, that when people put themselves in harm’s way for the safety and well-being of others, they are truly heroes. For that reason, we rightly think of the brave military women and men on the battle lines in war as our heroes.

For nearly a year, a different kind of war has been waged across our nation and throughout the world. The enemy is COVID-19.

The heroes in this war are the frontline workers.

They are respiratory therapists, nurses, doctors, other clinicians and support staff.

Back in the early days of the pandemic, Scruggs, a Valdosta nurse practitioner, traveled to New York City to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

She joined at least a thousand others in the fight against the virus for 21 days. Scruggs worked 12-hour shifts caring for COVID-19 patients in packed intensive-care units.

She called the scene “chaotic” but did not shy away from what she felt was her mission at the time. She worked through her own fears of the virus to be brave for men and women in her care.

Like so many others right here in our community, she likely does not think of herself as a hero and believes she was just “doing her job.”

But there are hundreds, thousands of people just like her, just “doing their jobs,” who are daily heroes, treating and caring for patients, working the emergency room, giving breathing treatments, setting up ventilators, providing daily care in the COVID unit, providing hospice care, administering vaccines, all while putting themselves in harm’s way, knowing that a high number of health care workers have contracted the dangerous virus while caring for others.

We cannot all be right there with them while they do their important — and dangerous — jobs but there are things we can do to support them, respect them and help them. We can help stop the spread of the virus by wearing our protective masks, socially distancing, avoiding gatherings, washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, and when it is our turn, getting the vaccine.

For now, we just want to take a minute to say thank you to all of these brave women and men working on the frontlines.

You are our heroes.

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The Brunswick News on driving carefully near school busses:

What’s yellow and long with wheels, has a flashing light atop the roof in the rear and can be seen on most roads twice a day carrying a cargo more precious than all the gold on the planet?

The answer, of course, are school buses. Their very size and well-lighted exteriors before dawn and after early dawn make them highly visible on neighborhood streets and major highways to pedestrians and motorists. They’re even more visible during daylight hours.

Yet they are still vulnerable moving targets.

One such mishap occurred Friday, and let us say now that Glynn County can count its lucky stars. While children on the bus were transported to Southeast Georgia Health System’s hospital in Brunswick, no serious injuries were reported.

A vehicle ran into the back of the bus at U.S. 82 and Galilee Road. Thirteen children, mostly high school students, went to the hospital to be checked out by health professionals.

Initial details were sketchy. All law enforcement was able to say early Friday was that the vehicle that ran into the bus was a minivan. What exactly happened was not disclosed. We pray the driver and any passengers who might have been in the vehicle were not seriously injured.

The accident serves as a reminder to all motorists to be extra careful and alert when approaching school buses. They make frequent stops and not always in places drivers might be expecting. They also may remain stopped for an extended period of time, depending on the number of children getting on, as well as the age and state of wakefulness of the elementary, middle school or high school students hitching a ride.

Anticipate the same stops, which might seem abrupt to motorists not paying close attention, in the afternoons following school dismissals.

According to the National Safety Council, 13,000 children and adults were injured in accidents where school buses were involved in 2018, the most recent year statistics are available. Of that number, 117 lost their lives. Both figures include school bus drivers, bus passengers, vehicle passengers and pedestrians.

Be careful out there. One injured child is one too many.