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Letters to the Editor for Sept. 1

Published: August 30, 2017

It's time to rethink the state flag

The current Florida state flag was designed in 1900 after the Civil War. Florida had seceded with other Southern states during the conflict. Prior to 1900, the flag was simply the Florida state seal. The current flag was further modified after 1965. The adoption of the flag is said by many to coincide with the rise of Jim Crow laws and segregation.

States with similar Confederate underpinnings have redesigned their flag to better represent changing populations and public outcry to what the battle flag represents. Florida's flag is described, in some quarters, as the most overtly racist symbol in the nation.

Some argue that the state flag was not connected to the design of the Confederate battle flag. But that is a difficult sell to anyone who sees it flying. It is an imposing flag and one that should be more representative of the state.

Florida and the rest of the nation are multi-ethnic, diversely religious and multiracial. The state is not owned by white Christians or any other group. There are many paths to the creator (for those of religious faith), Christianity being one of them. The Florida state flag is a clear variant of the Confederate battle flag, representing the Jim Crow era and white power. It needs to come down. Florida needs another state flag that is more acceptable to its residents and visitors.

Dr. Marc J. Yacht, Hudson

Free enrichment? Pick up a ukulele

In her Aug. 18 letter, lifelong learner Kathy Young Clark expressed hopes that Pasco-Hernando State College could waive tuition for retirees so that they may take personal enrichment courses. I'd like to suggest another avenue for entertaining stimulation.

The Tampa Bay Ukulele Society has offered free ukulele instruction through a number of libraries in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Now the 1,800-member society has expanded the program to Pasco and Hernando. Ukuleles will be available to check out, and enjoyable and effective instructional workshops will be offered, which guarantee participants will be able to play four songs by the end of the first session.

Programs are being planned for the Hudson, Dade City, Spring Hill and West Hernando libraries. Check with your community public library for further information.

Without hyperbole, I can state that the humble but enduring four-stringed instrument has changed my life. See if you, too, will achieve ukuphoria.

Gail A. Reynolds, Dade City