Contrary to comments from President Trump and others characterizing the removal of Confederate monuments as rewriting history, their removal corrects history. The Confederacy sought to destroy the United States, for which it deserves no honor or respect. The United States fought two world wars and the Cold War because our adversaries’ goals were to undermine the democracy we hold so dear. We do not honor those who were vanquished. The Confederacy should be viewed in that same light.
I agree with the suggestions that perhaps the monuments should not be destroyed but placed within an institution, such as a museum, where they can be viewed in the context of our horrible Civil War and as an inspiration for citizens dedicated to preserving the union.
In contrast to the Confederate monuments, there is no reason to remove monuments honoring our founders, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Though we revile their slave-owning, their monuments honor their work in creating the union.
Kenneth W. Hopper, Washington
In distinguishing Thomas Jefferson and George Washington from Confederate generals, the Aug. 18 editorial “History lessons” stated that they merely “partook of their era’s moral flaws,” whereas the Confederate generals betrayed their country.
I am not advocating destruction of the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial, but the moral inequivalency suggested here is questionable. First, the fact that everyone did it has never been a valid excuse for immoral behavior. More important, owning slaves is one thing; using them as concubines is quite another. This certainly would have been considered morally reprehensible even at the time.
While I agree that comments by the president have served only to inflame the situation, the issues raised are more complex than The Post would suggest and deserve more thoughtful consideration.
Edward M. Basile, Washington
In his Aug. 18 op-ed, “A horrifyingly empty cavity,” Michael Gerson, Michelangelo with words, dripped paint on the floor in encouraging Cabinet officers and White House staffers to resign. Mr. Gerson even implied that appointees or staffers who do not resign must be doing so only because they are themselves corrupt. In this regard, he disrespected the many honest and dedicated citizens serving at a time when women and men of real talent are most needed. How our country over the next several years meets the threats it faces and approaches the opportunities within reach will determine the well-being of the United States and much of the world for decades.
Cabinet officers and White House staffers serve the public, while serving at the pleasure of the president. Resignations for show — by people whose service is vitally important — would be a self-indulgence the nation can ill afford.
Richard Duvall, Alexandria
How would the goals and philosophy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. square with the current rush to remove offending Civil War statues? While he certainly would have regarded the effort as powerful symbolism, the struggle he led was for basic civil rights and economic justice. Remember that he died in Memphis while supporting striking workers and their pay demands.
The frenzy of the purification effort seems to have no end. What’s next? Removing the names of streets, schools, military bases, even towns? And to what end? Are these efforts promoting national unity? Are they lessening violence and poverty in black communities or improving the economic plight of struggling black and white Americans? What would King do?
Perry L. Weed, Annapolis
Many people apparently think that war memorials are only for the victors.
Even though the South lost the Civil War, its people did not lose their respect for the soldiers who fought and fell in defeat. The same could not be said for the United States’ lost war. As a veteran of the Vietnam era and the shameful aftermath, I remember the pain, the ignoring, the lack of thanks for service and sacrifice, the sins of war that were on our shoulders. The veterans built their own memorial; they would not forget. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial became a great lesson to America not to forget the soldiers.
War statues and tributes are not about winning, ideologies, political correctness or racism. They stand for the veterans’ devotion. Not only the giving up of body but also the giving up of soul for something much bigger than self.
Everyone who died in the Civil War was an American, and we will never forget them.
James Heidish, Arlington
So the same President Trump who mocked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a loser and not a war hero because he was captured is now fully supportive of venerating Confederate traitors who lost? Sad!
Petrina B. Murphy, Oakton
Catherine Rampell’s Aug. 18 op-ed , “Legalizing vehicular violence,” was shocking. In a country that has been arguing for decades about whether women can end unwanted or dangerous pregnancies because it might be considered murder, we have legislators proposing laws to allow one person to kill any number of people with a car. And such killings would be permitted and justified because those people have different understandings of the world than we do. What has happened to decency, love, caring and understanding in our country? This seems suddenly to be a world I don’t know or want to know. Do we really want to go down a path of allowing this kind of legalized killing of each other?
Elaine Tiller, Silver Spring
While there is a legitimate focus on memorials to Confederate leaders, there is no outcry over U.S. military installations named in their honor. There are 10 bases named for Confederate officers: Forts Rucker, Benning, Polk, Bragg, Hood, A.P. Hill, Lee , Pickett and Gordon, and Camp Beauregard.
Henry L. Benning was a committed secessionist with strongly voiced racist views. Edmund Rucker served under and was a postwar business partner of the odious Nathan Bedford Forrest. None of the 10 should be honored by associating their memory with the U.S. Army.
Most of these bases are significant posts. They were established in the 20th century and named for their location and the times. Now is the time to remove this insult.
David Heidelbach, Charlotte Hall, Md.