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Rewriting or denying history? Yes and no.

There has been much handwringing and complaining recently that removing statues of Columbus or Robert E. Lee or Confederate generals or other public figures from public spaces are acts that "rewrite" or "deny" history. Rewrite history? Yes, perhaps in part or whole. Deny history? No. Reinterpreting and rewriting history is a perfectly understandable and necessary task for the intellectually honest historian and scholar.

History is constantly being re-written and reinterpreted. From the time history was first written, historians often (and honestly) came to very different conclusions based upon each one's reading and interpretations of the same set of facts. And as new data and documents and historical artifacts are discovered and become available for analysis, it may be necessary to reevaluate and rewrite historical conclusions that take into account new evidence.

And thank goodness for that. It is much better, although often distressing for many people, to reinterpret the past based on all the evidence, than to take the chance of clinging to half-truths, myths and outright falsehoods, despite how uncomfortable the "new history" may be for some.

Frank T. Francisconi Jr.

New London

 

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