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Are We Trying To Erase Our History

December 5, 2017
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

We are a country of monuments. Everywhere you look you will find a monument to someone, something, someplace, etc. These monuments represent times in our county's history, good or bad, which we need to remember so the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Currently, the biggest battles in the country today are over monuments and memorials to southern people and places, which many consider to support racism, white supremacy and slavery.

Many universities across the country are removing monuments to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and so on. There are some cruel people in our country today that still want to hold on to ideals that make one race better than others. Such an ideal creates only hatred and fear.

But is removing monuments that remember the Civil War and the Confederacy or are there people in our country that are trying to erase and rewrite the history of how our country has become what it is today? It's not perfect but it is ours and we need to understand what happened in history so the mistakes of the past are not repeated over and over.

When the Taliban and ISIS began to destroy monuments in the Middle East because they didn't like, we were outraged. But is there really a difference? Is the difference that our "bad monuments" are not old enough to have historical significance?

When the statues of dictators were toppled in the Soviet Union and Iraq and when the "wall" between East and West Germany was brought down, we cheered and I am sure that if the Kims lose their hold on North Korea someday, we will be cheering again.

It would seem like an easy call that monuments to military generals and politicians in the Confederacy should go. From Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis to Stonewall Jackson, they supported a rebellion against the United States based on the idea of the preservation of slavery and the ability to live their lives as they felt they should.

Our country's history good and bad is what has made our country great. What is the purpose of trying to change history? I do not agree with the ideal of slavery but those men and women of the Confederacy fought for their independency and right or wrong, good or bad; we can never change history.

Plus, since we are tearing down monuments simply because we are trying to erase that part of our past, how will we treat this period in schools? Will we decide it is to appalling to pass down to our children that people can makes mistakes but as long as we learn from those mistakes and do not repeat them, lessons are learned? What does that say? If there is something I do not like about my life in the past, is it as simple as removing any signs that it happened? Is this what we are trying to say? Remove it and it didn't happen.

If it were that simple, why would we not want to remove any signs of the Holocaust? I think that was a very low, sad part of world history and it should be remembered. There are cruel people in this world that are pure evil; however, does removing Auschwitz Concentration Camp make it a nightmare and something that never happened?

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both owned slaves, yet these are two men that fought for the liberty of our country. It seems like they understood there was a conflict between their pursuit of liberty and the system of slavery, but they were unwilling to break with something that was so ingrained in their way of life at point, they were unwilling to change.

Common sense would lead us to believe that why would only those men who specifically worked to preserve their way of life lose their places of honor. Their ideals were definitely wrong, but they were great men in their own right and deserve to be honored not for what they stood for but what they did in building our country into what it is today. We cannot simple change the past by removing it from our sight but by teaching our children to not repeat the mistakes of our forefathers.

 
 
 

 

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