Mr. Hurliman has recently voiced a valid point about preservation of history. As has been said, those who ignore history may end up repeating it; it needs to be studied far more than it is. There are various ways of preserving history, one being by way of monuments. The problem with a monument is that it celebrates someone but doesn’t say why, at least not in any detail. I recently saw a letter to a newspaper complaining about the removal of names of confederate generals from military bases, on the grounds that some of those generals were brilliant soldiers even if they fought against the U.S. How silly! Does anyone want to see a Fort Erwin Rommel? After all, Rommel was one of Hitler’s most brilliant generals who fought against the U.S. (ask any veteran of Kasserine Pass). Give me a break.
To those who complain about monuments to confederate generals being removed, I say preserve them but in museums, not in the public square, and append to them the words of the confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens as to why the confederacy was created (I won’t repeat his incredibly racist language justifying slavery).
No thoughtful person would remove a statue of Jefferson or Washington from the public square. Yes, they were flawed men, sharing with us that all too human trait, but their good far outweighed their flaws and our country exists because of them. Those who fought against the U.S. in the Civil War wanted to tear our country apart in order to preserve their “right” to own slaves. We need no statues commemorating them in the public square.
A classic example of thoughtlessness has to be the call to remove monuments to U.S. Grant. General Grant defeated the confederacy and that ended slavery in the United States. As president he took on the Ku Klux Klan and pretty much destroyed it for his time. He was married to a woman whose family owned slaves, as did she. He freed the slaves. Does that marriage negate the great good he did? Thoughtlessness is too mild an epithet.