Tell the whole story of the Confederate statue

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

To the Editor:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can…”

All is defined by its opposite: success and failure, life and death, problems and their inevitable solutions. The removal of the Civil War statue from its pedestal is a problem, an opportunity for this community to rise above the typical, set a high standard, soothe a wound, and otherwise move towards meaningful, long-term success.

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Wounds need air to heal. Hiding away the statue in the bushes off the beaten path, at the Confederate Cemetery, will likely accomplish only an opportunity for vandalism. I say stop and think. Hold onto the statue for now. I say add to the pedestal, add to the plaque and tell the whole story. I suspect imploring Longwood or Hampden Sydney’s art/design department or local artists to work on a meaningful way to add to the remains of the monument, artistically, to tell the whole story, is a viable option. There are many more options.

Objectively, all sides’ feelings are hurt by these monuments staying or going. This is a people problem. Give the people the opportunity to solve this problem. Validate what people say, think and do. Create an opportunity for those on all sides to come together and as a group, agree on their goals and means to ensure continued success for the community in honoring the struggles of all peoples. Allow the people to diligently and thoughtfully consider all angles in meeting their common goals. We cannot solve hundreds of years of a problem overnight. This solution must take diligence, patience and a degree of righteousness in understanding that the solution is not whether the statue goes up or down. The solution is the process in deciding what to do. Rise above the typical, leading by example, valuing cooperation over competition.

I trust human nature with a complete understanding of its good and bad. I understand fully my trust in others will let me down from time to time, yet to not have this trust would mean that life has no meaning. Empathy is an innate quality of human nature, and I am very sure we all understand our dog in this fight is the need to best ensure the children we brought into this world are not relegated to a perpetual 50%; 50% split, a tug of war that goes nowhere and makes no meaningful difference towards success for our children and all posterities quality of life. We all intuitively know that the quality of life of our children is integrally connected to the quality of life, standards of living, of the children of everyone else.

Nothing ever ends. Politics appears to simply be the continuation of the violence/suffering of war. Recognize that violence/suffering became entrenched in the law, Jim Crow, segregation, etc. and fundamentally realize that conservative was only supposed to mean someone who does not want a lot of nonsense in their government or oppression or overreach of government impeding on the rights of us to live free. We all overwhelmingly have more in common than we will ever have differences.

There are many options that lead to success that my imagination has not conjured. I ask the Farmville Town Council to talk as people and ask to talk with people, in a public forum and give an opportunity for the community to take on this responsibility. It is a big one, it will take a lot of time, a lot of work. I ask the Farmville Town Council, and all those that sought responsibility/leadership, to understand that we know that the typical response is that they are volunteers and do not have the time, therefore understand the most meaningful thing those with this response can do is to stop volunteering.

Thomas Woodall