Recently a well-meaning citizen was going through the old cemetery here in McClellanville spraying chlorine bleach on the tombstones. By the time I got there, the damage was done. I would guess well over half the monuments in the cemetery, including the oldest ones that had the best patina had been bleached white, except for the streaks left by the misguided process.
I am no chemist. I flunked out of high school chemistry on the first day of class.
My lack of ability to learn chemistry aside, I have learned over six-plus decades that when you don't know anything about a subject, it's best to take the advice of those who do before you begin a project or you could end up with a disaster on your hands.
Last year I got involved in cleaning iron stains on the Seaman's Memorial that is located at the town dock in McClellanville. I asked memorial dealers and a highly respected chemistry professor, and I read many articles on the subject. The sources said, and every article I read began with "do not use bleach."
Bleach reacts with salts in the stone and causes it to deteriorate. This softens the surface of the stone and accelerates weathering and erosion.
I remember the advice Joe Tezza of H. Tezza and Sons used to give customers who bought marble counter tops from his company, "Never clean marble with anything you wouldn't put on your face."
The damage is done to our cemetery. My hope is that others can learn from our experience before more irreparable harm is done somewhere else.
What is wrong with a 100-year-old tombstone looking old?
I would like to remind the writer of a recent letter titled "Let it go" that major battles of the Civil War were fought on Southern land where Southern homes, cities, businesses and lives were destroyed and lives were forever changed. The significant battles in the North were at Gettysburg and Antietam.
The writer states that "those here" (Southerners) should follow the victor's example and let it go. I would remind the writer the victor's home wasn't occupied by troops, nor were homes, businesses and cities destroyed, burned and looted.
The writer also refers to the South as being a "land of trees" before we were so blessed to have people from the North and other countries transform us. It is a blessing to have so much industry moving south, whether northern or foreign, and we welcome it.
However, they are moving here because we have a wonderful, skilled work force with a work ethic second to none. Perhaps it comes from years and years of listening to the stories of our ancestors about the Civil War and how they had to work so hard to rebuild their lives. They instilled in us a survival instinct and taught us, through their stories, a valuable work ethic.
It was 150 years ago, as the writer states, as was slavery. Are we to forget that and "let it go"? The Civil Rights Act? The assassination of JFK and MLK? Other wars this country has fought? Columbine? Sandy Hook? 9/11? "Let them go"? These events forever changed our country and are commemorated. The people most affected by these events remember them and tell their stories. Memories of a war fought on American soil should not be forgotten.
I have many friends who are Northerners. They have a great appreciation for the South and its traditions and history. They do not consider themselves "the victors."
George Santayana and Edmund Burke said that those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it.
Ann Scott Morris
Parker's Landing Road
I am sure Slate columnist Phil Plait in his May 15 column was trying to alarm us with this statement: "Antarctic land ice is decreasing by an astounding 100 billion tons per year." If we didn't know better we would be worried, but we do know better.
The weight of a one-inch uniform coat of water over one acre of surface would be 226,512 pounds, or 113 tons. A square mile contains 640 acres, so a square mile would need 72,320 tons of water to cover it one inch.
Earth's surface area is 197 million square miles of which 131.6 million square miles are oceans, seas, bays, etc. To coat the Earth's oceans with a layer of water one-inch deep would require 9.5 million tons of water. At 100 billion tons per year it would take 95 years to raise the ocean one inch. Rep. Mark Sanford has a keen eye indeed to see a half-inch "rising sea level play on our family farm in Beaufort over the last 50 years."
There's not a thing human beings can do to change it, no matter how much money we throw at it.
Billowing Sails Street
On May 10 the College of Charleston awarded an honorary doctorate to Sen. Timothy E. Scott, who was also the commencement speaker. In his comments, he made a plea for students "... to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves." He dutifully shook hands with hundreds of graduating seniors.
Many of these students will have the burden of amortizing their student loans. The June 9, 2013, Post and Courier reported how our lawmakers voted on student loan legislation for the prior week.
A Democratic bill that would have extended for two years the 3.4 percent interest rate on newly issued Stafford Student loans, failed. Sen. Scott voted against it.
The rate would increase to 6.8 percent unless Congress intervened. A GOP loan plan was rejected 40-57. This plan, an attempt to avoid doubling the interest rate, would have set the rate at the 10-year Treasury note rate, then just above 2 percent, plus 3 percent for the duration of the loan. Sen. Scott supported this bill.
Today, a newly initiated, subsidized loan is based on a Treasury bill rate of 1.81 percent plus 2.05 percent, compared with last year's GOP bill of 2 percent plus 3 percent. An unsubsidized loan would have an interest rate of 6.8 percent.
A friend's daughter graduated from another college last year with a $60,000 student loan debt. For the next 12 years, she and her family will have a monthly payment of $654 for a total final payout of nearly $95,000.
More than half of the students Sen. Scott shook hands with have incurred student loan debt. Seemingly, Sen. Scott has not stood up for these students and their families who have left the campus with such burdensome debts.
D. Reid Wiseman
Isle of Palms
Recently, The Post and Courier reported on Rachel Donelson and her courageous struggle to support her 5-year-old daughter, a victim of bullying at school.
No parent can stand by while his or her child is suffering. One should expect no less than complete support by the school and the district in an instance such as this.
I was very dismayed to see that Ms. Donelson's efforts were so easily dismissed by these parties. Being told "kids will be kids" is indicative of the mindset parents and educators have been trying to progress beyond. Such a phrase is an insult to her very real concern for her daughter's safety and well-being, physically and emotionally.
I question the professionalism of the spokesman for the school district, Jason Sakran, who said, "We did everything we could. It's not bullying. It's two separate incidents." It was never clear what was done for the child, but it sounds like it wasn't much.
Bullying is just separate incidents that all come to the same end - a child feeling unsafe, insecure and threatened by others, creating a hostile learning environment. Then, when the mother looks to social media for support, she is called "irresponsible" and "disingenuous."
With a condescending response like his towards this caring, concerned parent, it is very easy to believe that the district for which he is the spokesman dismissed her concerns without really addressing them. How sad.