In New Orleans, some die-hards are trying to fight the American Civil War all over again by trying to stop the city from removing monuments to the conflict from prominent spots in the city.
A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stands at Lee Circle in the city, showing the traitor to the United States facing north, his arms folded, defiantly facing down adversaries from the north. At least that is what legend claims in the Big Easy.
The city wants to bury Lee’s place in history in hopes to provide a proper perspective memory of the traitors who fought against America.
As a Southern-born son of America, I welcome the move to scale back the immodest display of monuments of a time when a splinter group of segregationists and slaveholders tried to destroy the country that I love.
Robert E. Lee was a soldier of the American army when he resigned his commission and took up arms against his country. In the law of this land, that act made him a traitor to his country. So was Jefferson Davis, the proclaimed “President” of the Southern states who also turned on their nation.
As a child in Virginia, I attended elementary schools in the racist Prince Edward County that closed its public schools in defiance of integration in the 1950s and opened an all-white “private” school, supported by county taxpayer dollars” to educate the chosen ones while denying any form of education to those of color.
I saw racism first hand there and my family left the county to live in an area where I could continue my education in an integrated public school.
Yet the Commonwealth of Virginia, like other states in the South, continue to “honor” those who waged war against their country in the Civil War. When most Americans recognize a holiday dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Virginia adds a state “holiday” to honor Lee and another traitor, Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, to create a “four-day weekend” to start the holiday dedicated in most other parts of the country to remember King.
A movement to take down monuments to traitors of the Civil War began after racist Dylan Roof, who prominently displayed the Confederate flag on his website, murdered nine people, including a black minister and parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Governor Nikki Haley, now an Ambassador to the United Nations, ordered the Confederate flag that flew over the state’s capital be taken down permanently and her actions sparked the movement.
In New Orleans, mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered the city to tear down four Confederate monuments: The statue of Lee, one of Davis, another to Gen. Beauregard and a fourth considered “bipartisan” by some.
Other states and communities have done the same. At Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, the board of directors ordered confederate flags removed from Lee Chapel.
These overdue removals of the stains of the Confederacy have angered those who choose to live in the past. They claim the Civil War had little to do with slavery, which is a long-discredited argument, and say the flag and monuments do not endorse racism, another long-used lie.
They also equate the Civil War with the American Revolution that created this nation from British control and domination. Many historians consider that attempt laughable.
As a Southerner, I lost ancestors in what war. Some served righting for the Confederacy. Others for the Union. While I mourn their loss, I cannot, in good conscience, support the actions of the Confederacy.
It was, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, a lost cause fought in the support to enslave others considered by them to be inferior beings. That was not the America I was raised to support and love.
Racism, sadly, still exists in today’s America. The least we can do is tear down the monuments of those who fought for white supremacy. They died in shame, not honor, and should be forever be remembered as traitors to America.
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