Re: “Should this Ghost of Paul Revere song be Maine’s new state ballad?” (April 12):

This article was definitely thought-provoking. I can understand how Griffin Sherry, the writer of “The Ballad of the 20th Maine,” wanted to write about a foot soldier from Maine in the Battle of Gettysburg rather than hero Gen. Joshua Chamberlain.

Aside from the question of a new state ballad in Maine, it should be noted that Joshua Chamberlain is a hero and role model in other ways. What is amazing is that Joshua Chamberlain was a person who stuttered. In his youth, his father wanted him to follow in the family tradition of the military, while his mother wanted him to be a minister; he knew that in either of these professions, he would face stumbling blocks because of his speech.

In their “Celebrity Corner” section, the website of the Stuttering Foundation (stutteringhelp.org) has a biographical profile of Chamberlain titled “General Battled Stuttering.” The article describes the phenomenon in which some people who stutter are able to speak foreign languages fluently. While at Bowdoin, Chamberlain mastered nine languages besides English: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Syriac, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

At Bowdoin, he worked extensively with a professor who helped Chamberlain learn techniques that both controlled his stuttering and led him to fluency. This highly accomplished Maine native is an inspiration to young people who stutter. Though the proposed new state ballad does not include Chamberlain, his total legacy is more powerful than any state ballad and extends far past the state of Maine.

Adam Lichter

Springfield, Mass.


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