The obliteration of historic names from annual holidays is a very sad trend in our country’s evolution.

As a boy, I remember Feb. 12 and Feb. 22 as special days — holidays that honored two of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. I learned about them and have come to believe that both of them were indispensable in creating and maintaining the most successful nation and culture the world has known thus far.

Now we have “Presidents Day” — totally meaningless, just another vacation day. How does this new name evoke any interest or curiosity from our citizenry?

And now we erase President Jefferson’s name from our annual public celebrations.

Yes, he owned slaves, a barbaric and cruel practice that goes back to the earliest human cultures and still exists in our world today. (The U.N. estimates 40 million slaves currently.) Slavery was not just a Southern practice: Slaves, mostly domestic, were part of many well-to-do Northern households; even Peter Faneuil, for whom the famous landmark Faneuil Hall, is named, owned and traded slaves; Africans, themselves, were paid for bringing other Africans to the West African ports for transport to the American continents.

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” We are all flawed: Martin Luther King was very flawed, but we recognize and honor the extraordinary contributions he made for civil rights.

Thomas Jefferson devoted his life and talents to delineate and establish the values that make our country the envy of the world.

Shame on our City Council.

John Staige Davis IV

Charlottesville

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