Do our American Veterans matter? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves on Confederate Memorial Day as some within our country are raging over the honoring of men, women and children of all races (including African American, Native American and Hispanics) who fought and served their community in the South. Meanwhile, City Commissioners in Madison, Wisconsin recently voted unanimously to remove a Confederate POW memorial marker in the city cemetery – with no plans to replace the marker or note the names of those veterans who served, suffered and died for our country. And then there’s the Lakeland Confederate Veterans Monument in Tampa, Florida, which is dedicated to “All Confederate Dead” and is currently under siege. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the efforts of the Dallas, Texas City Council in potentially censoring and removing an American Veterans piece of artwork dedicated to Confederate Veterans in Pioneer Cemetery.
Fact: The Majority of the Confederate Monuments are monuments to U.S. Veterans and their Families that were erected by grieving family members who lost husbands, brothers and sons in this tragic war. They wanted to remember the blood sacrifice they paid in defense of their community. These are no different than Union Veterans monuments, World War 1 monuments, World War 2 monuments, Korean War monuments, Vietnam Veterans monuments or Gulf War Veterans monuments.
So…do our U.S. veterans really matter? Or should we behave like third-world tyrants and vigorously join in the toppling of monuments, the renaming of streets and the eradication of symbols dedicated to those who resisted in the face of martial law imposed by their government (such as here in Missouri) – or watched as the free press was smashed, voter rights stripped, people’s homes were burned, pastors were persecuted for preaching anything other than submission, political leaders were forced out of office for not signing oaths of loyalty and husbands and sons hung in the front yards of homes. Don’t believe me? Start reading some of the numerous first-hand accounts of people throughout Missouri (like W.M. Paxton’s Annals of Platte County), or other civilian communities that were invaded, bombed and starved into submission. Perhaps instead of just accepting the dogmatic assertions of a biased college professor or a skewed public school textbook, we can understand BOTH sides of this horrific conflict. And maybe, we can learn why so many in our nation today believe it’s wrong to dishonor our Veterans by trashing their holidays and monuments designed to remember their suffering and bloodshed.
Note: Artwork used with permission from The Missourian.