At least apologize to residents

By David HoggardN&R mast_1_27.jpg 

News & Record – 4/26/06

“I’m sorry for any pain I may have caused you.  Please accept my apology.�
 
That statement costs nothing to say, but its impact is invaluable.  I know this because I’m no stranger to apologizing. You’ll find it hard to believe, but I have made mistakes over the years… what with being human and all… and an apology has generally set things right. 
 
I have even apologized for things I didn’t think I was personally responsible for.  It just seemed like the right thing to do to keep peace in my “family�, be they blood relatives, spouse, friends, neighbors, or community.  So even though I wasn’t clearly at fault I’d swallow my ego, let go of my pride, and simply say, “I am sorry�. 
 
Apologies always make things better.  Moreover, this business of apologizing just strikes me as the grown-up thing to do.  And did I mention how much an apology costs?
 
After taking a long, hard look at events surrounding 11-3-79, the Greensboro Truth & Reconciliation Commission concluded, among other things, that some apologies are in order.  But, so far, Mayor Holliday has indicated that official Greensboro should only express “regret� for what happened that day in Morningside Homes.  “Regret� is a fine official sentiment, but it hardly cuts it for everyone involved in this case.  For some, only an apology will do.
 
The Klan, Nazis and Communists certainly deserved police protection from each other that fateful day, but they were by no means innocent parties.  They should feel free to exchange apologies among themselves, and it wouldn’t hurt if they threw one Greensboro’s way while they’re at it. 
 
By all accounts, they came looking for a fight and they certainly found it and, regrettably, sorrowfully, people were killed.  But because of their deep-seated hatred for each other they screwed things up for the rest of us.  So, yes, an apology to Greensboro from the combatants would be nice.
 
In return, official Greensboro can keep expressing “regrets� to them and I’ll be fine with that.  If the city should decide to issue the protagonists an actual apology, that’d be fine, too… but I’ll not hold my breath on that one. 
 
However, if our mayor and city council can only muster one apology, it should be to former residents of Morningside Homes.  That apology should be deeply heartfelt because no matter how you slice it, the city failed, miserably, to protect its own citizens that November day.
 
It is clear from the TRC report that Greensboro’s police knew, or should have known, that the Communists, Klan and Nazis weren’t coming to Morningside for a tea party.  It shouldn’t matter if Nelson Johnson or anyone else told them to stay away, our police should have been right in the middle of it all.  You can bet your bottom dollar they would have been out in force if the event had been planned for Irving Park.
 
If everyone will leave the Communists, Klan, and Nazis out of it for a minute, you’ll find an undeniable truth has emerged from the work of the Commission.  Clearly crying out for some serious reconciliation is the fact that ordinary Greensboro citizens, your neighbors and mine, were terrorized and traumatized due to bad decisions, or indecisions, on the part of official Greensboro back in 1979.  For Morningside residents, the anguish caused by those events and their distrust of law enforcement continues to this day.
 
For that, an apology is certainly owed …and it won’t cost anyone a dime.

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