Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

Live up to character pillars

By Laurie Wittmayer-O’Neill | Dec 20, 2012

November 7, 2012

Washington, Iowa


To the editor,

Before our county was Washington, Iowa, it was “Slaughter County” to reflect the name of some of the early settlers. The term “Slaughter” offended many of the people living here to portray such a negative image of this beautiful place of God created beauty. Words do matter, words have impact, and words create identity. Promptly, a word was sought to sum up the qualities known and hoped for in this new land: STRENGTH, PERSEVERANCE, RESOURCEFULNESS, giving and living PRAISE TO OUR CREATOR, seeking HIS GUIDANCE in the foundational decision making building our community. HONESTY, INTEGRITY, GENEROSITY of time, talent, and resources available, RESPECT for our diversity (we had immigrants to our county from all over the world blended with the Native Americans already living on this land, generally being cooperative to the greater good of the group and assisting one another when called upon), active CITIZENSHIP and DEDICATION of personal and group resources, PATRIOTISM, PERSONAL HUMILITY, but PRIDE IN THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY, SUCCESSFUL IN BATTLE. Our local founders decided to use the name “Washington” to embody all these traits.

As we consider all these positive attributes, let’s pray that we publicly acclaim these values in OUR school’s nickname. It should be worthy of being connected with Washington. It should pull us together as a group, acclaiming the values we espouse to the world. We know this is a community of strength and power in the face of challenges, let’s face this one to bring us back together with honor and praise for our positive history.

If we are to live the Character Pillars (Fairness, Caring, Trustworthiness, Respect, Citizenship, and Responsibility,) we teach, and expect exemplified from our students, please, prayerfully, reread the attribute goals of the past and present, and consider what might better encompass them.



Laurie Wittmayer-O’Neill


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