A flower display, and other memorials along the road, we have all seen them. You do not know the whole story, but the symbols tell you enough. Somewhere there are tears. A loved one will return home no more.
Are such memorials appropriate or even necessary; Are any of them for any reason?
It could be argued memorials are not appropriate. If not, then they are not necessary? The person is dead. A flower display, marker, monument, or bunch of stuffed animals will not bring them back.
In large part, people have memorials to grieve what has been lost. In equal measure they are erected to remember the past.
There will always be those that do not like a memorial, wanting their memorials raised in place of them. Who cannot see the irony and folly of submitting to this? For the replaced marker or statue becomes the next one to be replaced.
The medium used most for these commemoratives is a blend of stone. Like a cold heart, stone endures. Incapable of grief or, remembrance, it is not the stone that strikes out and seeds hate, it is the cold heart.
Over the last few months, the controversy and debate about Confederate monuments has blared on. Locally, many letters and editorials have been written; the discourse is good. Reading and listening intently, I chose to let the threads of this run without comment as I gained greater perspective.
For some, these statues represent slavery and others heritage. I see both and so much more. I see every fallen solider, my country being ripped apart. I see crops burning in fields; as starvation steals life from women and children. I see the prison camps, the horrific disease, medical conditions which present horror Hollywood cannot imagine.
Go where I have in my study of this period. Try to visualize the well over 620,000 dead, from every race, age, and walk of life.
There is so much more to this story than statues made of stone. What about the whole story?
People are more than willing to spray paint, smash, and pull down these memorials. They are even willing to desecrate graves and physically attack anyone that even appears to disagree with them.
How can America say we are a nation of laws when such things are excused by prosecutors and judges?
Recently, what played out in Durham courts is an example of this and what normal has become.
Numerous charges against multiple defendants were dropped. Even against a person that pleaded guilty to the destruction of the statue in front of the old courthouse.
This was done notwithstanding evidence the destructive effort was planned and is supported by extensive video evidence.
Then some of the now excused took to the media bragging about what they had done.
If you go into the weeds a little, you may find the influence of the communist group, Workers World Party.
Make no mistake, this is not about Confederate monuments. I would wager most that protest, destroy, and blather about know little if anything about what is called by some the American Civil War.
"The flap over the Confederate Flag is not quite as simple as the nation's race experts make it. They want us to believe the flag is a symbol of racism. Yes, racists have used the Confederate Flag, but racists have also used the Bible and the U.S. Flag. Should we get rid of the Bible and lower the U.S. Flag? Black civil rights activists and their white liberal supporters who are attacking the Confederate Flag have committed a deep, despicable dishonor to our patriotic black ancestors who marched, fought, and died to protect their homeland from what they saw as Northern aggression."
That was stated by Walter E. Williams, professor George Mason University.
There is a nexus with monuments and what he has to say about the Confederate Flag.
I have read many histories of Confederate and Northern monuments. I could find not one account where slavery, death, or the evil of war was to be celebrated by any of these memorials, not one.
What I have found most lacking by those seeking the greatest destruction in this is a total lack of empathy for tears shed for those that never returned home, or their families.
In 1957, Congress declared Confederate soldiers, sailors, and Marines U.S. Veterans. What is done to their memory is done to the memory of every veteran, yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's.
There are those that will never understand this until they get their son or daughter back home in a box.
Trust me, then they will get it! Indeed they will understand what made of stone really means.