We Use Symbols To Say What Words Cannot

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Editor:

I was Chaplain for the Payson Police Department and the Arizona Highway Patrol between 1990 and 1997. I worked beside DPS Sgt. John Whetten and other officers at some of the vehicular fatalities on SR 87 and other places in the area. I have made some of those middle-of-the-night phone calls, presided at the funerals of some of the persons killed, and stood with heartbroken families as they placed flowers around a little white cross at the site where someone of inestimable value to them departed this life. The memories are burned into my brain.

Life is about people, and relationships, and memories. We use symbols to say things, important things that cannot be put into words -- an American flag, a wedding ring, a uniform, a handshake. Society often marks the places where large groups of people died violently.

There is no such thing as a small death. A society which would begrudge a square foot of roadside soil to those who need to say, "Someone very important was torn from our life right here" would be one in which the tyranny of personal taste trumps a symbol of love and the healing of a grieving heart.

I cannot imagine why this is such an important issue to Ms. Teddy Cohen that she must tell the world, but I am very glad her opinion does not prevail.

Fr. Jack Wilson, Pueblo West, Colo.

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