Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Opinion | A pause before removing memorials at Arlington cemetery

Opinion | A pause before removing memorials at Arlington cemetery

The Aug. 8 Metro article “Suit seeks to halt removal of Arlington Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial” told of a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia brought by the Sons of Confederate Veterans seeking to prevent the dismantlement of the statue erected with funds from the United Daughters of the Confederacy and dedicated in 1914 with President Woodrow Wilson as speaker.

There’s no question that Vice Chair Ty Seidule and the Naming Commission’s third and final report calling for the removal of all sculptural elements above the memorial’s granite base was correct that the UDC’s action was done to provide legitimacy for those who fought for the Confederacy.

But to my mind, we in our polarized nation need to be sensitive to the entire span of our nation’s history, all of it — the good, the bad and the ugly. I, for one, think the memorial (with its Latin inscription “Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni” that puts a positive spin on the Lost Cause’s glorification of traitors) ought to remain in place, but with appropriate signage.

I hope the court will mandate a review of the Naming Commission’s recommendation so public comment might figure into a final decision on the memorial’s fate.

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