Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Reverse Decision

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Reverse Decision

The following is an open letter to Reverend York-Simmons and Members of the Vestry.

I write as a former vestryman and chairman of the tricentennial trust for Christ Church, Alexandria, as well as a former 12-year chairman of the Alexandria Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission, and as the nephew of Gay Montague Moore, who wrote "Seaport in Virginia, George Washington's Alexandriaā€¯ to protest against the decision of the Vestry to remove the wall plaques in memory of George Washington and Robert E. Lee from the interior east wall of the sanctuary at Christ Church where they have been for over 100 years.

I have read the letter you have issued attempting to justify your action, which I understand was issued without involvement of the congregation until after the decision was made, and find your action procedurally and substantively outrageous.

These plaques are an integral part of the structure at this point. Christ Church derives its significance as a National Register Historic Landmark in large part from its association with these two great Americans, and their names continue to belong on its wall in their present location.

While the Church is private property, there is substantial public interest in it because of its historic connection to George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and its status as a landmark is a reflection of the community interest in the site which you appear to be in the process of attempting to ignore. By continuing to do so you put in jeopardy your reputation as thoughtful Christians and responsible members of the community in which you are active. If you have other history that you feel needs to be commemorated, find another place for it, and please leave George Washington and Robert E. Lee where they belong. I urge you to reconsider and revoke your decision before it is too late to do irreparable harm.

Robert Latane Montague, III