Why Civil War Memorials Need to Stand

Why Civil War Memorials Need to Stand
Why Civil War Memorials Need to Stand

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
In Richmond, Virginia, as in many other cities across the country, discussions are being held concerning Civil War monuments and what to do with them. Rallies are being cancelled for fear of bringing more violence into the cities, and some statues have already been removed. But, in America, land of the free and home of the people who have a reputation for not being afraid to challenge the government, is eradicating the visual markers of the past really the best choice? Some say it must be done, while others insist that we need to keep history alive.
The real danger here is that it sets a precedent. Is the Statue of Liberty next because our country has evolved into one that can no longer sustain an unlimited amount of immigrants? Or is that even the biggest issue?
Fear is taking hold and it’s winning the day. The message is loud and clear: “If you want change, put fear into their hearts.”
Taking some kind of action is a reasonable response. After all, no city wants to face the violence that recently took place in Charlottesville. But, the reality is that these monuments and what they represent have evolved just as much as the country, and the issue may not be what people have come to see them as so much as it is that many people don’t know the truth behind them.
Many of the monuments represent great leaders who fought for what they believed in, whether it was right or wrong or ended the way they wanted it to. Isn’t that exactly what America stands for? The fact that they are misunderstood is one reason why some cities are speaking of adding plaques to the monuments in order to further understanding rather than hiding them away in a museum.
These monuments are pieces of American history. They remind us of what people put on the line (their lives) in order to fight for what they believed in, the very same sort of thinking that made America an independent nation in the first place. If we discard that history out of fear or even anger, we are almost certain to either bow down and take whatever fear throws our way or repeat some of the acts that our country would rather forget.
As long as people are allowed to fly flags and present symbols from other countries, does it really make sense to hide or destroy the ones that belong to our own? In short, it doesn’t matter if the monuments stay or go. What matters is that this country does not give in to terrorists… foreign or domestic.