Letter: Tercentenary marker controversy should spark deeper reflection 

January 4, 2024

It feels as if our country has become a place that is increasingly unable to tolerate problems inherent to being human. We seem to need everyone to be right, correct at all times, in all situations.   

Several prominent university leaders recently made grave, public mistakes. They were swiftly condemned, and one removed from office. What is ironic is that this is happening in places of learning, places where, by and large, you would assume there to be tolerance, even encouragement, for mistakes to be made. My point is that when we demand an absolute, yes or no answer to a question, it is important to look at the reasoning behind any condemnation, so we can learn from what has occurred.  

In Concord, historic placards and signs are being removed, presenting a unique opportunity to come together to talk about their meaning. In the past, these signs represented what the people of Concord understood about our history, and believed to be correct. Why were these signs created, the specific words chosen? They perhaps no longer represent current values, but is the removal response honest and respectful of our history? Can’t we learn from how much we have changed our perspectives, how we view the present, and which words we now choose to use?   

These two examples are distinct but reveal our insistence that everything must be corrected and made right without exploring why it may be wrong, or why it happened. It is easy to attack and tear down and/but what comes of this? There is little room for mistakes, or to ask “why” what was believed then may no longer be correct. This attitude neither allows nor permits opportunities for growth. My hope is that we become better at acknowledging and tolerating our mistakes and learn from them. 

Sarah Blum 

Lowell Road