Statue serves as a reminder

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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Dear Editor:

Many people are writing about the statue in front of the Methodist Church. Let that statue stay right where it is. Let him be a reminder to not allow yourselves to be deceived by others. The bloodiest war in our country’s history should be remembered. Those who fell and the reasons they fought should be remembered.

My ancestor, John Singleton Mosby, the ‘Grey Ghost’, was loved by General Lee for his gift of soldiery and disdained by aristocratic officers like Nathan Forest for his hatred of slavery and secession. He fought, like many tens of thousands, in defense of Virginia, not for the rights of the richest of white Southerners to own slaves.

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However, within that defense of Virginia, forgotten like a mortgage payment, is the fact that in defending his home, which is admirable, he was also perpetuating the institution of slavery. His actions by the 1861 standard are understandable. But they’re just wrong by any modern standard. I have often wondered had he, General Lee and General Jackson lived today, would they still make the same decision?

General Lee himself was adamantly against statues of himself or anything to do with the Confederacy, as he knew that the divisions between us would never heal if they went up. But, since we have it anyway, that statue is a reminder that people make terrible decisions. Had the Confederacy freed the slaves and then fired on Fort Sumter, we wouldn’t be having this debate. But they didn’t and we are having it. And it has been more than 150 years since the war ended. Let the dead rest.

“I think it wiser not to keep open those sores of war; follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife.” — Robert E. Lee

Tom Noehren