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The riot doesn't represent Baltimore

Over the past several days I've thought a lot about my oldest daughter, Caroline. She has spent her adult professional life as a mental health therapist, working to build a better Baltimore. She has loved the city ever since her mother and I dropped her off at Loyola University in the mid-1980s. She has never left, except for occasional visits to her home in Cumberland.

Caroline has educated me about the lives of some of the young African-Americans from dysfunctional homes whom she helped as teenagers. Baltimore needs more people like her to guide errant young people. The city might also take a leaf from her Saturday morning walking tours of parts of her beloved home that border on the recent riot area. It is rich in monuments, statutes, once treasured churches, descriptive historic signs. The Maryland Historical Society traces all of the above and more. Now known to many people as the city of crime, Baltimore also contains a distinctive Catholic Cathedral. And, since 1954, Baltimore has been the home of its secular counterpart, the Baltimore Orioles.

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When my daughters attended a Catholic school in Cumberland decades ago, I wrote excuses to the principal asking permission to take them on an historic tour of important Catholic sites in Baltimore. The dates coincided with an Orioles' game in Memorial Stadium (which I didn't mention to the sister, although she was known to be avid O's fan and probably suspected what our total plan included). The recent cancellation of a series and a game played to an empty stadium in Camden Yards is only one sad reminder of the price that rampant hooliganism can produce.

Perhaps that current memory can be replaced with orchestrated tours of the city's many cultural emblems. They could begin at the Washington Monument, the first of the nation's tribute to our first great national leader, and branch out down Washington Square for a stopover at the Maryland Historical Society that provides pictorial images of Baltimore's past and printed literature for longer visits.

We simply shouldn't allow the recent destruction to become a symbol of a city that has so much to offer. Perhaps Camden Yards could feature a concert of the city's fine musicians, jazz and classical, to rally support for a new chapter in Baltimore's great history.

John Wiseman, Cumberland

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