Monuments to a Lost Battle


All over the South, monuments stand in memory of the Civil War. Some recognize the soldiers who died. Some recognize battles fought. Many were erected to intimidate and remind the African-American community they aren’t welcome. How many of us know the history of these monuments? I recently found out that the monument at the Arch in Athens was erected in the same year the KKK was founded. Indeed, it lists soldiers killed in the Civil War, but it also contains slogans that are associated with the KKK. Recently the state of Virginia decided to remove the monument to Robert E. Lee. Richmond’s mayor said, “Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy — it is filled with diversity and love for all — and we need to demonstrate that."  These monuments should be moved or altered. Why not create a monument to all our lost soldiers? Recognizing those who died in all the wars fought? What makes the Civil War deaths more important than those who died in World War I or Vietnam?  That battle was lost. The war over. It’s time to remove the shameful reminders of a raciest society and to begin the long road to healing.

Joan Curtis

Athens

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