The removal of Confederate monuments in Asheville and Western North Carolina is close to anti-free speech and the beginning of controlling what we think and believe.
I have traveled the world and seen good and evil. The most moving experiences I have witnessed are the opposites: good vs. evil.
The “good” was my visit to the Normandy American Cemetery. There, we pay tribute to men who gave their lives so that we remain free. Certainly, I can’t imagine removing those Normandy monuments; I admit, there probably are some who would want them removed.
The second, the pure embodiment of “evil,” I visited Nazi death camps. The Germans after World War II didn’t remove them. They kept most of them intact, ovens, gas rooms and all, to remind us of that evil, to remind us never replicate ever again that evil.
In the same vein, Confederate monuments are our history, like it or not. Their existence represents a teachable moment to future generations of the evil of slavery. However, these statues are not really all about slavery, they are about the history of our nation. President Lincoln said, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” And so, why do we not want to keep them to remind us about the growing pains of our country, to remind us of the sacrifices made by our ancestors on both sides to make this country and to use those statues and monuments to teach future generations?
We need to do the “right” thing, not the politically expedient.
— Francis Strazzella