Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh Could Learn Something From This Harvard Student on Flag Day

By: The Columbus Monument Corp.

In her senior speech, Julie Hartman eloquently articulated how fortunate and proud we as Americans should be for the blessings afforded us by past generations. 

“Americans are the freest, most privileged people on earth. Yet many of us are ashamed of showing any national pride. Why? Because we Americans of recent generations have been swaddled in prosperity and security and, in consequence, have become ungrateful for the blessings that we enjoy.”
“It requires vigorous athletic imagination for most of us to consider the basic brutal realities that much of the world experiences daily.This nation saved the world from global catastrophe three times in the 20th century. This nation has grown to treat racial, ethnic, and religious minorities with a quality and respect compared to other places, and times on earth. This is the nation where people are not constrained by their gender, religion or class, but can work to achieve a better life.In this nation, we can criticize our government, secure in the knowledge that we will rise the next morning and our country will still respect our rights.
“We view these things to be our birthright, our permanent and guaranteed condition. But they are not. They exist only because past generations have sacrificed to secure and maintain them.And to our discredit, we have used these blessings not to strengthen our country, but to tear it down.”
Every Columbus Day, hundreds of Syracusans gather at the historic Columbus Monument to pay tribute to those generations before us who fought for and defended the very special freedoms highlighted by Julie Hartman. Then the crowd reconvenes for a luncheon honoring local citizens who embody those unique American characteristics of leadership, generosity, empathy, and giving. 
We invited Mayor Ben Walsh, but he did not come. Apparently he was too busy to attend. 
Yet, he seems to make the time to attend every protest in held in Syracuse. Three this past week.
Walsh brags about fighting for rights. But when we fought him for our rights to preserve and protect the historic Columbus Monument – rights upheld by New York’s Supreme Court – Walsh called us disruptive. 
While most Syracuse citizens enjoy celebrating American’s special place in the world, Walsh chooses to highlight how oppressive our country is. At the same time, he uses his right to free speech – along his position as Mayor, and your tax dollars – fighting to suspend it for those who disagree with him, as we do. Ben Walsh has thrown in with the ill-informed mob against Columbus. In doing do, Walsh has chosen to take sides in a culture war against a large part of the community he serves, a constituency that has helped build the Syracuse community for generations. We find that disappointing. Syracusans of all backgrounds came together in 1934 to raise the Columbus Monument to manifest a pride in country and gratitude for America’s grace towards those yearning to be free. Like our forebears.
“American, despite its failings, is the last great stand on earth”Wise words from a bright young woman. On this Flag Day, Ben Walsh could learn something from Julie Hartman. Ask Ben Walsh to stop dividing us with his petulant denial of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Tell him to join us in creating an inclusive Columbus Circle that adds to what our forebears started in 1934.

Forward this article to the Mayor at BWalsh@syrgov.net


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