As a Civil War writer I have very mixed feelings about this issue. First off the underlying cause of the Civil was most definitely slavery. As Lincoln said. “a nation cannot long endure half slave and half free.” Moreover, I find it repugnant when modern day folks use southern symbols of the Civil War for representing and promoting their evil xenophobia.

On the other hand the war did happen and right or wrong brave men on both sides fought and died for what they believed was just, and as has been popularly acknowledged even folks of the same family in some instances fought on opposite sides — brother against brother.

I understand that this is a most delicate subject, and were I a Black person I probably would want to see the nation scrubbed of all vestiges of the Confederacy and what it represented. Yet as one somewhat obsessed with American history, the military struggles on America’s Civil War battlefields and the politics that sustained this most bloody contest of wills are hard to resist contemplation.

And so while I don’t want to see symbols of the Confederacy mixed in with contemporary governance, in most cases statues representing heroes of the past, both of the North and the South, might better be left in place, particularly as they relate to those grounds where men made the ultimate sacrifice.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store