In Bath on July 6, 1854, a mob of 1,000 stormed a church and burned it to the ground. There was a lot of negative sentiment against Catholics in general and the Irish in particular. And a year later, when the Catholics tried to rebuild, they were chased away and beaten.

In 1939, about 900 Jews, many of whom were children trying to escape the Nazi gas chambers, had their boat turned away from our shores and were forced to return to Germany, where hundreds perished.

To our everlasting shame, we in America have too often ignored the words emblazoned on our Statue of Liberty and committed cowardly acts that we then regretted.

As a Jew, I would not be completely truthful if I didn’t admit to having some trepidation about admitting Muslim Syrians who might harbor a bias against Israel or toward Jews in general.

But I cannot and will not turn my back on those who are fleeing for their lives. Gov. LePage is absolutely wrong and incredibly cruel to deny them welcome to our wonderful state. His decision hands a moral victory to the terrorists, and we cannot allow his voice to prevail.

P.S. Syrian families have to wait and be checked and rechecked for two, three or even four years. Contrast that with the fact that students or any tourists with European passports enter our country with no vetting, as do those millions with special waiver work visas.

Sandra and Ole Jaeger