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Invite unsung heroes, not athletes to White House

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The time has come to change a long-standing tradition. For years, the president has invited to the White House athletic teams, both college-level and professional, who have won championships in their respective sports. The purpose of these invitations is to have the president honor the teams by meeting with them, sharing a meal and having photographs taken.

Unfortunately, in these radically political times, the traditional invitations have quite often been declined by the invitees, resulting in rancor, unpleasantness and overall awkwardness. Quite frankly, the tradition, in and of itself, has become superfluous. The college teams have already received celebratory gatherings of adoration from their fans — fellow students, alums, etc. The professional title winners, in addition to their massive salaries, have received even more financial consideration for their wins. Parades have taken place in their respective home cities.

My suggestion would be to replace the now taken-for-granted invitations to the athletes from the president with invitations to some of the nation’s unsung heroes. Recognize heroes such as:

— First responders who have gone above and beyond to protect and serve;

— School teachers and counselors who have bettered the learning atmosphere at struggling schools; and

— Community members who have spent countless hours helping the destitute, the struggling, the challenged and the marginalized.

The list goes on of people who made a difference out of a sense of love, compassion, duty and caring.

Hartley W. Duane III.

Richmond.

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