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Supporters of the arches, please hang in there

November 27, 2019
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Living as far away as I do here in Denver, I have to operate on different map and satellite mapping services. We have a few just a 5-10 minute drive away, yet my memory of the Beach Arches just has problems with a miniature version of the Archway Portal. As a photographer during all but my junior high year, and now as a retired professional history, human psychology and behavioral psychology teacher, my heart, my inner balance, and my historical preference is a full size reconstruction of the Arches as close as possible to its original site. But the behavioral science part of me looks at the community, the commercial interests, and the changing age dynamics. They are, unfortunately, being swayed by observing from an arms length away.

Human trends are towards an almost mercenary, pro-capitalist, pro- commercial interests. Some of this trend is the result of the influx of a population with poor to nonexistent historical perspective. Another issue is a result whose seeds and roots go further back locally and is a direct result of our (me too) of long time residents of several decades span, disregarding the desperate need to instill in our young people a real knowledge and heartfelt affinity for things that existed prior to their birth.

As a history teacher in public schools for nearly 30 years and active in national studies of schools, I have to point to property owners and taxpayers that have figured that they don't have kids in the county schools so why should I support programs that don't benefit me? This nearsighted perspective has hobbled the very environmentalists and educators who have the training and creative art of teaching, instilling, and inspiring young people to have more than an attitude of, "yes he lived here, so did he, we have a parade, whoopie." I can see a systemic failure to build an effective foundation in education, enthusiasm, and an empathy towards the intimate history of each historical location in the area of true historical heritage and interest.

While I can say what went wrong, I can also suggest that if you want a future awareness of our local human history, start planting the seeds of knowledge, respect, and social responsibility for stability rooted well historically. You do that by having effective local history education and social inclusion of young people from elementary to high school, and pay the bill for that educational foundation.

Your demographics are not helpful at the present time for asking social expenditures that can be called, "what used to be, isn't now, and only old folks like my parents remember the original." This is the battlefield you are being given, your battle cry is preserve and restore the past, so we have roots to remember." While your opposition is armed with tight economics, high cost of living and a voting system that is as old as a car with a carburetor instead of a fuel injection system. The old cars ran well and you can fix them in the yard but they aren't shiny, sleek, fast, and environmentally aware; who wants one?

All this, you have already probably thought of, but there are psychosocial and economic interactions that you must consider and redraw your battle plan and angle of attack to enlist, enlighten, and enroll folks with an inner enthusiasm and fire for nothing short of total victory. I've seen this in every successful heritage or monument building project across the country and I believe that you have the fire in your belly to own that singularity of thought, focus on a real tangible end result, and I believe that with the assistance of a proper human behavioral psychologist assisting you, you will succeed where your efforts seem to be wheels spinning in the mud, going nowhere fast. From my perspective, of a much varied experience and education, I really hope that you'll take more than a moment to reflect on my perspective

I'm from Cape Coral and South Lee Country, I went to Cypress Lake Jr/Sr High School, Jr. ROTC and The Cadet Civil Air Patrol Squadron at the old Page Field. I've lived on the Beach, and searched the swamps and coast for many a Sundown Patrol, so I can say that I have some sweat and blood in the places of my youth

I believe all the supporters that you already have, have an inner reserve of energy, drive, and identity in the success of your shared vision I also know you all have faith in your goal, it IS real, and reasonable

Victory IS YOURS. Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches, Inc., it is a finger's length away. Do NOT close your hand and throw it up in the air in frustration. YOU ARE THE MOUSE THAT ROARED.

Thomas Paul Frazier



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