You might recall the argument in Charlottesville over Confederate statues. It began at our dear old Festival of the Book, and was prompted by City Councilor Kirstin Szakos’s suggestion that “a lot of people” want to tear down statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The other day Szakos made a speech deploring the reaction to her comments, some of which was directed at her children. The back-and-forth outrage has spread online, of course. So here’s a sample (emphasis added):
My family came to Virginia in 1619. We cleared the land, fought the Indians for that land, and dreamed of a country free of oppression. We did not have slaves, we did not believe in slavery and we fought on the side of the North during the Civil War. My forefathers were commanding officers for a Union Cavalry Regiment in Southwest Virginia. Thirteen of my ancestors were dragged out of a church on a sunday morning and hanged in front of their fammilies. There was nothing noble about the Civil War. It was a brutal war that cost lives and we have not forgotten.
Why don’t we have any Union general statues in our city? Where are the commemorations to my ancestors who lost their lives on that Sunday morning many years ago? All they got was a mass grave in a forgotten land.
There were many Union sympathizers in this area and other parts of Virginia. These statues are a reminder of the horrors of that War. We want to forget these past atrocities.But everytime I walk by the statue of Robert E. Lee, I am reminded of the deaths that my family suffered.
Tear them down!! Get rid of the reminders of that brutal war.
I support Kristen totally.
If we can’t remember the past and learn from it, then there is no future!!!!! We can not be selective and only learn the goodness of our heritage, we must also learn the darker sides.To me, the statues are simply a dedicatation to the memory of two great Generals of the Civil War, not a symbol of slavery. It is the right of all southerners of all races to honor their heritage. It is this same spirit that was able to rebuild a devasted countryside following the Civil War. The only discussion needed about the statues is how to preserve them….
Tear them down!! REplace them with statues of Union generals. Move the mass grave of my ancestors to Charlottesville to remind people of the atrocities of war. All Virginians were not supporters of the South. This was a war of oppression to maintain slavery. You ahve no right to offend those of us who did not fight for the South.
I want Union general statues in our city!! NOW!
Amen , instead of tearing down, why not LEARN and build the truth about the Confederates… I am proud of my Hertiage, and I’d bet that she as well as a lot of ‘haters’ is also from some great Confederate… why Hate something you know NOTHING about… it is NOT anything to do with hate… lets do some research and KNOW what it’s all about? Go to the rennactmactes, Montpeller, Harrper Ferry, Manasses, Bull Run… WATCH & LEARN and stop wanting to desyory just because of fear!
Somebody doesn’t wanna get re-elected! There’s way too many people in this town who oppose forward progress. And yeah, maybe I am a bit of a hater. You would be too if your “heritage” came from slaves, and then you had to look at statues of the men who fought to maintain their leash around the necks of your people. I’m not sayin that’s all there is about Confederates, but that’s the first thing that jumps to the minds of those “unaffiliated”.
NOTE: This blog post originally appeared yesterday, April 3, 2012, but due to a server error was lost. This is a republication.
IMAGE: Statue of Union general and Virginia native George H. Thomas in Washington, D.C. (Panoramio user Lee Iljoo)