Our nation’s most current state of social unrest has shown us that human beings are very good at repeating their mistakes.
One of the most important ways to avoid the mistakes of the past is to study our history, to learn from it and never forget.
But if you’re traveling around the country this summer looking to learn a little more about our past as “We the People,” well, you can forget about seeing some of the most important reminders of a pivotal turning point in our nation – and our humanity.
A little history lesson…
So, the destruction of Confederate monuments all over the U.S. is backed by the claim that Confederate soldiers were all “evil” because they were fighting to keep black people enslaved – you know, the “only reason for the Civil War.”
Maybe we need to go back and study our nation’s history again.
Historian Samuel Mitcham, Jr. wrote a book on the reasons behind the southern secession and going to war.
Much of it was about states’ rights. And most Confederate soldiers fought to defend their land, homes, and families within their state.
Mitcham emphasizes the importance of these monuments for the human beings they represent.
“It wasn’t about hatred,” and “it wasn’t about slavery,” he writes. “We can’t agree with some of the things that were done back then, but that’s true of all history. They were put up because the widows and orphans of the Confederate veterans loved their husbands and fathers.”
The vast majority of Confederate soldiers were poor farmers or ordinary middle-class men – husbands, sons, and fathers who wanted to protect their families and their families’ well-being. To save their crops, to save their homes, to leave something for their children.
Most didn’t even own slaves.
Amidst all the current unrest, Mitcham is pretty sure destroying these monuments is not going to satisfy those who claim to be offended by them. It’s the hypocritical, progressive war-chant of “tolerance” – tolerance for only one viewpoint.
If you never had a chance to visit some of the monuments in question, some are still standing — for now.
But you’d better hurry because many of the irreplaceable reminders of our past have already been destroyed.
Yes, Alabama is a deep-South state, so they have plenty of Confederate monuments.
The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017 – which Democrats are trying to overturn – prohibits public memorials more than twenty years old from being “relocated, removed, altered, renamed, or disturbed.”
The statute of limitations in this Act is important because they consider memorials over two decades old to be historically significant to future generations. The penalty for any of the above actions against historic monuments is $25,000.
Despite this, Democrat leaders are encouraging unlawful destruction and removal of their state’s history.
The Mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin, met with protesters and promised them his city would pay the $25,000 fee to illegally remove a statue of a Confederate officer – without consulting any other city departments or officials.
It was removed the next day, leaving Birmingham to, ironically, take the money out of their Historic Preservation Fund.
In Mobile on June 5th, a GoFundMe account was opened to raise money for the state’s $25,000 fine for removal of a 120-year-old Confederate Navy Admiral’s statue whose destruction was ordered by their Mayor.
In Montgomery, protestors destroyed a statue of Robert E. Lee in front of a high school named after him.
The vandalizers were arrested, but the charges were dropped due to “clerical errors.”
Do we see a trend developing? Rob Peter to pay Paul and to hell with accountability for your actions – especially if you’re a politician.
Even more ridiculous was the removal of a plaque by the University of Alabama honoring three former students who defended that very institution from destruction during the Civil War. But they fought for the Confederacy, so all memories of these young soldiers must be erased.
Being my home state and full of Civil War history, I can speak about the importance of preserving Confederate monuments in Virginia.
I was raised here. I raised my children here. And every time we visit a battlefield, a Confederate monument, or the capital city of Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy, we talk about these very issues…
Why brother fought against brother, why slavery was evil, and why we have monuments in the first place – so we never forget… so we never repeat the sins of the past.
You know the quote – or one of its many variations – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
One place we always used to stop and have serious discussions about the potential evils of humanity was a slave auction block in my hometown. It always reminded us of the atrocities committed when slavery existed – and it always gave me an opportunity to reflect and teach my kids about the human rights of freedom and equality.
I won’t have this physical – and powerful – reminder anymore because this part of our town’s history was ripped out of the ground last week.
Then there are all the statues of Confederate officers all over the state, particularly in Richmond.
Many have been vandalized and destroyed in recent weeks before local officials could even make alternate plans to at least have them protected.
Virginia law has, until now, made it illegal to destroy or disturb war monuments – all war monuments, including those of Civil War veterans.
After all, Civil War veterans deserve the same memorialization and remembrance as veterans of other wars. They fought for freedom from oppression, for their homes and their families. But because they are judged as fighting for the “wrong side (for slavery),” they’ve been deemed as undeserving of recognition.
Virginia’s “esteemed” Governor Ralph Northam, who was once photographed in blackface next to a friend dressed in a KKK hood (or was he wearing the KKK hood) – has ordered anything that has, so far, escaped destruction to be removed, including a massive and notable statue of General Robert E. Lee.
Yes, Lee fought for the Confederacy – because he could not raise his sword against his home state of Virginia. In 1856, Lee even wrote a letter calling slavery a “moral and political evil.”
Virginia’s Governor decided to have Richmond’s statue of Robert E. Lee removed and put in storage – so no one has to look at it and be offended, or Heaven forbid, look at it as a means of teaching our children lessons from our past.
This came on the heels of a law passed by the Democrat-majority legislature to allow localities to override state law about memorials if they deem them to be a “problem” in their community.
Lee’s fate has yet to be decided, as he’s gotten a temporary reprieve by a judge blocking its removal. Visit this iconic memorial while you can.
And in Portsmouth, Virginia, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was destroyed with bricks, bolt cutters, and other tools – along with several other statues – even as the city council was meeting to discuss options. A band played in celebration of the vandalism.
The war against Confederate memorials in Virginia is but one small part of the plan to erase the state’s history. Names of schools and sports teams, roads and highways bearing the names of Confederate officers are all on slate to be changed to something more “PC.”
The Virginia Republican Caucus says it best: “Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail. And because of this Governor’s personal history, the motivations of this decision will always be suspect.”
In Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry ordered a dozen Confederate monuments and plaques to be removed in the city, one notably taken under cover of darkness.
The bronze statue and nameplate of a Confederate soldier was erected in 1898 and meant to honor the boys and men of the Jacksonville Light Infantry.
It was removed from its base by city crews using heavy machinery before the crack of dawn in Hemming Park in response to the riots and protests going on around the country.
Two hours later, the Republican Mayor met with protesters and told them he would have every single Confederate monument in the city immediately removed.
His decision was likely aided by pressure from the Jacksonville Jaguars football players (the rich, the elite!) making public statements of support for their removal – and it’s no coincidence that Curry has been trying to placate the liberal media ever since heavily campaigning for this year’s Republican National Convention to take place in his city.
He knows he’ll be judged when the RNC comes to town and the cameras are rolling.
There are too many other monuments, in too many other cities, to mention. But it’s a widespread attack of epic proportions. And it will be a blemish on our history for the simple fact that it’s erasing history altogether.
Stop the Madness
Left-wing state officials and city councils are saying these monuments need context in a museum setting.
How about leaving them in place and instead of destroying them add a plaque with that context they’re demanding so we have it for future generations?
The website of Auschwitz — perhaps the most horrifying reminder of human atrocity in history — tells us why we need these reminders to stay put: “There is no way to understand…the world without an in-depth confrontation between our idea of mankind and the remains of Auschwitz.”
Here, “Auschwitz” could be updated with any monument that serves as a reminder of the evils perpetuated by human beings against one another.
It’s like traveling to an unfamiliar area and turning down the wrong road. You go back from whence you came and don’t turn down the wrong road again. That would be stupid, right?
But what if there is no landmark to remind you which road to avoid next time you’re there? You’ll just turn at the wrong place again.
The madness will not stop by destroying reminders of history – but we can destroy the madness by keeping the reminders of that wrong turn so we never take it again.