From my understanding there has been a lot of discussion about the Confederate Monuments by local government officials in Vienna and Cordele. Apparently, some people in the community have misunderstood the reasons behind the purpose of these monuments.
First of all, these monuments were erected in their respective communities to honor all former and living Confederate veterans. In the years following the Civil War members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy raised funds to commemorate the service of these veterans. The Cordele monument, once claimed to be the tallest one south of Atlanta, was erected in 1906 costing $3000.00 (Source: G.B. Hagler Georgia’s Confederate Monuments). The funds for the monument was contributed by widows and surviving family members living in the community at the time. Moreover, these monuments brought closure for those lost loved ones who never returned home to buried in their own county. Likewise, in the North monuments were raised to honor the Union Veterans for similar reasons. The war memorials and statues erected in the North and South became an important component of reconciliation not political statements. The same applies to the naming of military bases across the nation that honored Civil War veterans on both sides.
Almost 100,000 Georgians served in the Confederate military. Many died of wounds sustained in battle and others by disease. 90% of the men who fought for Southern Independence did not own any slaves or significant amount of property. They served the out patriotism in defending their homeland from invasion. The South suffered the greatest percentage of casualties among its population than the North when one accounts both the total civilian and military deaths. Of course, this did not include the unmeasured psychological costs associated with fighting the war that people once called the “Soldier’s Heart” or better known as Post Traumatic Syndrome. This served as another reason for honoring their sacrifice just as America has always done for veterans who fought in wars throughout our national history.
Unfortunately, historical revision has infected our educational system. Our children have been taught that our Confederate ancestors are unworthy for honor. I would remind any potential critic to study the 1958 Public Law 85-425 passed by the US Congress. This law afforded Confederate Soldiers, Sailors and Marines the same respect as all American veterans.
We should never allow certain unnatural forces to undermine our history in removing any war monument or rename military bases.
The Veteran’s Memorial Coalition is for the protection of all American Veterans Monuments in our state from being removed or vandalized. You can learn more about the memorial coalition by visiting www.vetmc.org. The organization’s main goal is to ensure the protection of all historical monuments and markers under Georgia law 50-3-1.
The famous writer Santayana once said, “Those do not remember the remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Do not allow this to happen in your community!
Bo Slack, Commander
Yancy Independents Camp 693
Sons of Confederate Veterans