Monuments honor treason
Enjoyed reading Gus Speth's editorial page column in The T&D on Sept. 3.
It is truly interesting to note that, while this nation has a plethora of monuments to what Bobby Lee himself, “aftet thw war,” stated was a treasonous cause, Germany has no monuments to its World War II figures, not even to a non-Nazi like Erwin Rommel, who probably is deserving.
When someone takes an oath of allegiance to the United States, as did almost every Confederate general, then takes up arms against the United States, that is treason, plain and simple.
Thus, heritage argument duly considered, we're honoring and glorifying treason by those monuments’ very existence, as well by having their names on streets, highways, buildings, etc., a significant amount of which came about long after the time cited in Speth's editorial.
No one is saying erase history. Simply admit what was and that it's not deserving of the ostentatious displays that exist.
Frank H. Staley, Life Member: VFW & American Legion, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
History lesson on R.E. Lee
Since the Charlottesville incident was about Robert E. Lee, here's a little history.
Robert E. Lee was married to George Washington's granddaughter. He worked with Grant during the Mexican-American war and became a decorated war hero defending this country. He believed slavery was a great evil and his wife broke the law by teaching slaves to read and write.
In addition, Lee was also very torn about the prospect of the South leaving the Union. George Washington was a huge influence on him. He believed that ultimately states’ rights trumped the federal government and chose to lead the Southern army.
His estate, Arlington, near Washington, was his home. While he was away fighting the war, the federal government demanded that Lee himself pay his taxes in person. He sent his wife but the money was not accepted from a woman. When he could not pay the taxes, the government began burying dead Union soldiers on his land. The government is still burying people there today. It is now called Arlington National Cemetery. Do they want to tear that up too?
After the Civil War, he worked with Andrew Johnson's program of Reconstruction. He became very popular with the Northern states and the barracks at West Point were named in his honor in 1962. He was a great man who served this country his entire life in some form. His memorial is now being called a blight.
People keep yelling, "You can't change history." Sadly you can. This is no better than book burnings. ISIS tried rewriting history by destroying historical artifacts. Is that really who we want to emulate?
As they tear down this "blight," keep these few historical facts in your mind. No military veteran and highly decorated war hero should ever be treated as such. This is not Iraq and that is not a statue of Saddam.
W. Ashby Rhame, MAJ MI USAR Ret, Rembert
A call to action
On behalf of the board of commissioners of the S.C. Human Affairs Commission, I extend our concern to those involved in the recent and tragic incident in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Motivational speaker Les Brown said, “If you don’t stand up for something, you may fall for anything.” Heather Heyer stood up and will not be forgotten for her courage. The state police who died were working to protect all people and we will not forget them.
The Human Affairs Commission urges the citizens of this state to work together when any people face intolerance or discrimination. We all must continue to spread the word about the importance of advancing diversity and inclusion and to respond to hate with a love and a celebration of our differences. This should be our call to action. This should be our plea to every community in this state.
Our agency was created to promote harmony and goodwill among the diverse people of the state, in part by promoting community relations councils and by eliminating and preventing unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. We will continue to promote civility with citizens across this state to bring about respect and dignity for all people.
Raymond Buxton II, commissioner