The Civil War was the darkest era in our American history. It brought more suffering to our country than any of us can even imagine. As with most wars, the majority of the soldiers had no knowledge of the political ideologies which brought about the war. They didn’t know what they were fighting for and would have no voice in shaping the policies that would evolve at the war’s end. But, as with all wars, “To the victor goes the spoils.” The South had to be punished, and, although Reconstruction meted out this sentence to rich and poor alike, there have always been those who feel that it was not sufficient and that all succeeding generations must continue to make retribution.
Those who want to stir up controversy today have turned their attention to symbols of the long defunct Confederacy. The fact that these symbols are hurtful to some is a gross misunderstanding in itself. To say that a Confedate flag or monument represents slavery or racism is to deny the timeline of our country’s history. Slavery existed in the American colonies before the country won its independence and should have been abolished when the Constitution was written. Period. That it wasn’t, is the fault of all our forefathers, not just the Southern ones. As my husband has said many times, slavery existed many more years under the American flag than it did under the Confederate flag during the few short years of the Confederacy. But this truth does not serve the purpose of those who have an agenda today. They want to turn neighbor against neighbor just as our ancestors did over a century and a half ago.
i agree that the symbols must go away. They are obviously hurtful to many, regardless of the misplaced blame associated with them. I do hope that they will be relocated to museums or other appropriate settings and not just be wrongfully destroyed. We must not forget our history and the pain associated with it. I also hope that the mercy shown to Confederate leaders and soldiers at the end of the war will continue to be shown toward Civil War battle sites, cemeteries, and Confederate headstones in private cemeteries. Right or wrong, these men did what they felt they had to do and deserve to be remembered respectfully.