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City should know more about its daughters

 Butler Franklin
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Date published: 1/5/2014

City should know more about its daughters

Recently, the City Council honored Mrs. Butler Franklin with a citation by former city attorney James M. Pates, a member of the Memorials Advisory Commission.

When she and her husband, Lynn, consul general, were stationed in Curacao, our government had helped the Netherlands (specifically, Dutch Shell) during World War II. The Dutch, in gratitude, offered to build an embassy for the U.S. Mrs. Frank-lin offered suggestions to the architect, who rejected them.

Now, Fredericksburg officials and admirers could further honor her memory if the city would fund the public-access television channel so that it could hear from all its residents who have indirectly paid for the channel for 25 years.

Fredericksburg has voices worth listening to and forces worth responding to, such as hers. The event in council chambers on Dec. 10 honored a lifetime of devotion spent to achieve the recognition that women's stature is equal to men's; equal to, not superior or inferior to, but different from.

Fredericksburg has a daughter, retired since Nov. 30, Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater-Awkward, who not only has provided the environment in which statesmen can confer, like our honoree who was rebuffed, but has provided stateswomanship to the level of minister in the foreign service on our behalf in countries like Benin, Ghana and as deputy assistant secretary for sub-Saharan Africa. (Her latest assignment, Jamaica, was arranged so that she could be nearer to her mother in her final days.) In her early days she was consul general in Durban, South Africa, and personally knew President Mandela.

I have always thought of Mrs. Franklin as a stateswoman in the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, Fredericksburg has produced three: Butler Franklin, Pamela Bridgewater, and her mother, Mary Bridgewater, whom many remember acting in many local venues. We need to know more about the lives spent for us; i.e., the good news.

Bettie Grey