Letter: Can we compromise and move on from Civil War monument insanity?
Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
When I watch this current insanity over monuments, I have to imagine that Abraham Lincoln is turning over in his grave. Does no one recall the history of the end of our Civil War? Lincoln had no Confederate generals, nor President Jefferson Davis, tried for treason. After the surrender at Appomattox, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant allowed all of the Confederate forces to keep their weapons, horses and equipment.
Why was that? It was because they understood the need for reconciliation. Our horrible Civil War pitted brother against brother. It tore our nation apart. Although horribly misguided, they were not horrible people.
Does no one know the history of our founding as the United “States” of America? States’ rights were a paramount concept in the beginning of our Republic. On both the Union and the Confederate side, soldiers fought in their State’s Forces, e.g., 3rd Maine Regiment, 2nd Virginia Brigade, etc. The Civil War determined that our Federal Government must prevail when something as heinous as slavery is concerned.
Every monument of a Confederate general, or commemorating Confederate fallen, serves as a stark reminder of that principle. Each monument screams, “We were wrong and we lost. All men are created equal.” Do only I see the irony in removing those reminders?
I think the reason that good, non-racist people want these monuments to stay is best summed up by the sentiment on the Confederate Memorial Monument at Arlington National Cemetery:
Not for fame or reward
Not for place or for rank
Not lured by ambition
Or goaded by necessity
But in simple
Obedience to duty
As they understood it
These men suffered all
Dared all — and died
Let’s accept and understand that the people being commemorated in those monuments were being obedient to their duty “as they understood it.”
Can we compromise and move these monuments to cemeteries, if their presence offends you? And then can we realize that we are currently facing imminent danger from radical extremist terrorists. Let’s get our heads out of the past (and where the sun doesn’t shine) and unite against present-day heinous ideology.
Let’s not forget that the grounds where Arlington National Cemetery stands were Robert E. Lee’s private property that was purchased by the federal government. Should we plow it over because Lee once owned it? Or should we return it to his heirs. I’m sure ESPN can come up with a brilliant resolution.