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I find Karen Forde’s May 24 letter, “Monuments don’t change history” — about the sex slave plaque in New Jersey — to be more than a little myopic. Forde says that since the United States had nothing to do with the “comfort women” of World War II, there shouldn’t be any monuments on American soil to remember those who were affected. I think this is the height of nationalistic rubbish.

We are all human beings and it doesn’t matter what the nationality is of those who suffered. Korean Americans in the United States who support that monument may have had family members during that time who suffered under that system of human trafficking. Who are we to say they can’t, or shouldn’t, have a monument to their people who suffered so greatly?

The U.S. is a melting pot of cultures. If you think that all people from foreign cultures simply become white Anglo-Saxon Protestants when they first step foot here, leaving behind everything that they were, then you are sadly mistaken.

Monuments aren’t about changing the past; no one would contend that they are. What they do is help us remember the past, so that the same mistakes are not made again and that we remember who suffered. Monuments can’t change the past, but getting rid of them is erasing the past, and that’s much worse.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

timothy bedwell

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