As a newcomer to your state, I would first like to congratulate you on your newspaper, which is both well-written and informative, although it does not have much international news, which is an interest of mine as well. But your newspaper witnesses to the fact that West Virginians still on whole have a soul, are concerted for God and country, justice and freedom for all, in its stories. I am pleased to be able to live her for a while to do my research on the history of this state and the reconstruction period of our nation.

However, as the last surviving cousin of Abraham Lincoln, first cousin, fourth generation, I am shocked and dismayed and angry at the statue of my relative in front of the Capitol. West Virginia was a hub for the Underground Railroad, with the Pocahontas Tribe, the miners and the white farmers giving hospitality and refuge to the runaway slaves, and they paid dearly for their service to God as Good Samaritans, by the slave owners of Virginia. Abraham Lincoln and Congress were concerned and gave this state its statehood when he emancipated the slaves. How dare West Virginia not see him as a man of authority, never doubting what is right, by having a statue of him with his head bowed as if he suffered sleeplessness for doing the right thing, doing justice for freedom of all. How dare you suggest in this statue that he was a flasher, walking around at night in a blanket with big ears. I recall my grandmother saying that Abraham Lincoln did not have big ears, and the photographs of him bear out the truth. He did not have big ears, which develops when one does someone else’s bidding instead of God’s love for one’s neighbor.

It is not just because I am related to him by blood that I object. I object as an American, knowing that there are people who wish to rewrite our history, corrupt our values and understand that freedom comes from serving God, doing justice and kindness, forgetting self, living in the Spirit of God, helping one’s neighbor.

Rona R. Harding