8 January 2003
The Honorable U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Ashcroft,
I would like to express my thanks to you and the U.S. Department of Justice for the unstinting and often unrewarded efforts that you perform in prosecuting crime and seeking to protect the United States from terrorist acts. You make choices that affect every American citizen, and sometimes you must make difficult choices which ordinary citizens may not understand or easily accept.
A number of months ago, I came across a story about the hanging of drapes in the Department of Justice to cover over a statue of Justice personified, a classical full-torsoed figure, blindfolded, and carrying the sword and scales. While she is a pagan figure with one exposed breast, she represents the ideals of Roman law, which accepted the dictates upon which our own legal system is based: equality of citizens before the law; innocence until proven guilty; and the shared responsibility of all to uphold the principles of the republic. As an ancient history teacher, I feel that she represents much of what America is fighting for in Afghanistan and Iraq. The ideals she represents are high among the things we are protecting from the predations of terrorism.
I ask you, in this new year of 2004, to reconsider your decision to cover over this symbol of the highest values of the Western world. Make this great lady visible again, who is kin to the Liberty who stands in New York Harbor, and the statue of America on the dome of the US Capitol. Please, pull back the drapes and show her to the world as a symbol of what we stand for.