Speak Out!

May 07, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE: -- Adam Goodheart, interim director of American Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, has raised a troubling question for the U.S. Naval Academy: Does the crypt in the basement of the military college's chapel really hold the embalmed body of John Paul Jones? In a recent issue of Smithsonian magazine, he suggests that the remains of the father of the U.S. Navy might still be in a desecrated Parisian cemetery, and were perhaps even used to fertilize a garden. Given that several of Jones' family members are buried in the U.S. and that the academy has a lock of hair alleged to be his, Goodheart asks, why not perform a DNA test? Academy officials, pointing to extensive work by a team of French anthropologists conducted when the body was found 100 years ago, have rebuffed Goodheart's idea.

Should the academy disinter the remains to confirm that the tomb so carefully guarded by midshipmen does, in fact, hold Jones' body?

Disturbing tomb would be bad idea

Questioning the status of the crypt surely is a quest for historical accuracy. But is it necessary to disturb the legend when such disturbance could have far-reaching, negative effects? After all, some of John Paul Jones' early life is still a mystery.

Clara Ann Simmons Chestertown

The writer is the author of John Paul Jones, America's Sailor

Examination in Paris confirmed identity

At the time of recovery of John Paul Jones' body, its state of preservation made possible thorough and conclusive examinations, including an autopsy at the Paris School of Medicine. Thus the expense involved in opening the sarcophagus and conducting further tests seems unnecessary.

Jean Lee Eareckson Annapolis

Leave hero to rest undisturbed

Is nothing sacred anymore? The guarding of the crypt underneath the Naval Academy Chapel has to do with tradition, respect and honor to a fallen Navy hero. Let's not start trouble where there is none and let John Paul Jones continue to rest in peace.

Sharon Dodge Severn

We want your opinions

ISSUE:

The Anne Arundel County school board announced this week the selection of Kevin Maxwell, a Montgomery County administrator, as the school system's new superintendent.

Maxwell, 54, lives in Bowie, and his twin daughters graduated from Arundel High School, points that gave him an edge over two out-of-state finalists.

Maxwell spent 22 years as a teacher, principal and administrator in Prince George's County before becoming principal at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. In 2004, he began his current job as one of six community superintendents in Montgomery County, where he oversees about 27,000 students in 39 schools.

Nancy M. Mann has served as interim superintendent since Eric J. Smith resigned.

YOUR VIEW:

What are the biggest challenges facing Maxwell? What should be his top priorities?

Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published next Sunday.

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