Some in our nation are currently, and suddenly, in a heated debate over the presence of Civil War monuments in our towns.
Knoxville, a historically pro-Union city, has recently dealt with outrage over such a monument in Fort Sanders, a bastion controlled by the Union. The monument, erected in 1914, was “To the memory of the Confederate soldiers who fell in the Assault on Fort Sanders” on November 29th, 1863.
The assault as described on Wikipedia:
The assault, conducted on November 29, 1863, was poorly planned and executed. The Confederates moved to within 120-150 yards of the salient during the night of freezing rain and snow and waited for the order to attack. Their attack at dawn has been described as “cruel and gruesome by 19th century standards.” They were initially confronted by telegraph wire that had been strung between tree stumps at knee height, possibly the first use of such wire entanglements in the Civil War, and many men were shot as they tried to disentangle themselves. When they reached the ditch, they found the vertical wall to be almost insurmountable, frozen and slippery. Union soldiers rained fire into the assault, including musketry, canister, and artillery shells thrown as hand grenades. Unable to dig footholds, men climbed upon each other’s shoulders to attempt to reach the top.
Fun fact: East Tennessee had more volunteers for the Union army than all of the other Confederate states combined.
My solution to this “monumental” issue?
As City Councilman, I would never push for the removal of any monument or statue. I would, however, be open to a referendum that would allow for the citizens to vote on keeping or removing monuments. Should a controversy about a monument arise, there should be a referendum on the next ballot for the people to decide if the monument goes or stays.
I do not support the destruction or vandalizing of any monuments. When people start destroying things that offend them that is a dangerous path. We as society have legal and civil avenues to have monuments removed, and I support those avenues over destruction and anarchy.
One thing is for certain, all monuments and statues fall. It’s just a matter of when and how.