The Democratic Party has made dividing America into antagonistic ethnic and economic segments an art form. It seems there is no demographic too small or too radical to be labeled an oppressed minority whose grievances must be mitigated by antagonizing their alleged oppressors.
In the past decade Democrats have chosen to literally dig up history to appease the Civil War grievance industry created by radical African Americans and their self-loathing White allies.
While it would be hard to top exhuming the remains of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from their longtime resting place in Memphis, Tennessee and moving them to a museum hundreds of miles away, the destruction of Arlington National Cemetery’s Reconciliation Monument may do so.
The destruction and purging of any placename or monument even remotely associated with the Confederacy was given legitimacy when a Democrat-controlled Congress created a “naming commission” to review and purge anything no matter how small associated with anything Confederate.
To demonstrate how illiterate this effort has been, the naming commission even recommended renaming Fort Belvoir (where my father was once stationed), which has no obvious association with the Civil War, but apparently because it shares a name with Belvoir Manor, the seat of the slave-owning Fairfax family.
Even though Lord Fairfax’s family was among the most influential families of colonial Virginia, the name Fort Belvoir fell afoul of the same impulse that caused the Commonwealth of Virginia to rename Lord Fairfax Community College, which is now Laurel Ridge Community College.
The historical illiteracy of the renaming and purging effort is probably beyond rectification, given that the deadline for final implementation is January 1, 2024, but a brief discussion of the Reconciliation Monument and the milieu in which it was built might serve to bolster the lastminute effort to save it from complete destruction.
While the illiterates in establishment media insist on calling the Reconciliation Monument “the Confederate memorial at Arlington National Cemetery” it is a monument to something much more important and today more imperative than ever – reconciliation between the people and forces who once tore the Union apart.
Created by Moses Ezekiel, a world-renowned American sculptor, Civil War veteran and the first Jewish cadet at Virginia Military Institute the monument was erected in 1914, at a time when veterans of the Civil War were passing into history. The monument features a bronze woman, crowned with olive leaves, standing on a 32-foot pedestal, and was designed to represent the American South. According to Arlington, the woman holds a laurel wreath, a plow stock and a pruning hook, with a Biblical inscription at her feet that says: “They have beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
The statue also includes depiction of a Black woman holding a child and an enslaved man apparently following his master to war.
Now, here’s where the historical revisionism comes in – those who object to the statue claim the that the Black woman is holding a “white officer’s child” and they also object to her depiction as a “Mammy.”
The problem is there’s no definitive record that the child is intended to be white or black, it would accurate either way, so the depictions of the two African Americans are historically accurate – enslaved men did accompany their Confederate masters to war, and what 21st century revisionists call a “Mammy” costume was what female farm laborers, white or black, wore.
Those objecting to the Reconciliation Monument also object to the “Lost Cause” inscription, a Latin inscription translates to: “The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause to Cato,” Cato being the last defender of the old Roman Republic.
Once again, the historicity of the inscription is indisputable: Was the Civil War about ending America’s original sin of slavery or as the Confederate “lost cause” advocates claim, it was about whether the states or the federal government are supreme. Lincoln himself could not answer that question when the war began, and it continues today. But now, thanks to reconciliation, the argument is between historians and constitutional scholars rather than contending armies.
However, getting sucked into disputes over the monument’s iconography misses the much larger point – the geniuses and statesman who knit the Union back together after the Civil War saw reconciliation as their most important goal.
Lincoln and Grant, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet and others chose to put reconciliation above retribution and to actively work to bring the southern states, and their people, back as full participants and supporters of the Union – the United States of America.
It worked, and more than anything the Reconciliation Monument memorializes their efforts, not the Confederate side in the war or the Confederate dead buried in its shadow.
When the Spanish – American War broke out 33-years after the end of the Civil War, southerners answered the call to fight for the Union. Former Confederate Cavalry General Joseph Wheeler at age 61 was on the staff of Lt. Col. Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Gen Wheeler graduated from West Point in 1859 and left the United States Army to join the Confederate Cavalry. He was the only Confederate States General that was allowed to rejoin the U.S. Army after the Civil War, but many other southerners with less notable records joined-up.
Among the American heroes produced by reconciliation was Gordon Johnston, the son of Confederate General Robert Daniel Johnston. Gordon Johnston served in the Rough Riders during the Cuba campaign, and later in the Philippines where he received both the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor.
Camp Gordon Johnston in Florida, where troops trained for some of the most dangerous amphibious landings of World War II, was named in his honor. Fortunately, Camp Gordon Johnston closed in 1946, so Johnston’s name cannot be debased by the historical illiterates of the naming commission.
A group called Defend Arlington, affiliated with a group called Save Southern Heritage Florida, filed a lawsuit Sunday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, seeking the restraining order.
A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order barring removal of the Reconciliation Monument at Arlington National Cemetery, and a hearing was scheduled for today, but the judge lifted the order, even though Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin has proposed moving the monument to the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.
The Board of Visitors at VMI unanimously approved a motion to accept the statue for placement at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park — owned and operated by the college — north of VMI’s campus in Lexington. But with the lifting of the temporary restraining order that effort is now in doubt.
George Rasley, Editor of ConservativeHQ.com served on the Indiana – Tennessee Civil War Commission. His ancestor Rep. Joseph H. DeFreese sponsored the post-Civil War legislation to readmit Tennessee to the Union. Many in his family fought with distinction on the Union side in the Civil War, and several lie in honored glory at Arlington National Cemetery. As Assistant Director of the National Park Service Rasley was instrumental in the Park Service effort to preserve threatened Civil War sites.
Arlington National Cemetery’s Reconciliation Monument
Congress renaming Commission
Save Southern Heritage Florida