Folks have already asked about our response to the possible removal of the statue of Virginia Gov. Harry F. Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square. First of all, Mr. Byrd, who essentially began his professional life as savior of this newspaper, is not going anywhere. The bill proposing his removal is simply a blow across the bow of Democrats eager to eradicate the statues of Confederates.

Secondly, and for the record, we’re averse to the removal of statues pretty much of any historical figure. The key word, of course, is “historical.” And Mr. Byrd, his antediluvian segregationist stances notwithstanding, was a historical giant — one of Virginia’s most progressive governors (a stringent anti-lynching law and a much-needed road-building plan) and then a titan of the U.S. Senate as protector of the U.S. budget. It’s long been said he treated the people’s buck as he treated his own — frugally.

Now for the present: Republican Del. Wendell Walker of Lynchburg has introduced a bill to take down the Byrd statue precisely because that’s one statue jackhammer-happy Democrats aren’t talking about removing. So Mr. Walker is putting Democrats on the spot, Democrats who even wish to uproot Gen. Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol, a move supported by Gov. Northam, who seems ready to do anything to make people forget that blackface photo in his medical college yearbook.

Whatever, it’s a slick move by a young delegate. Mr. Byrd should no more be the subject of removal than any of the men on Monument Avenue. Mr. Walker knows that; hence his cut-off-at-the-pass proposal.

(4) comments

Ping

Stalin liked to erase history and rewrite it to his tastes.

slowe

Monuments and statues are not history. They are statements about what parts of history you want to honor and value. Placing them or removing them does not change history but it does say a lot about the people and their actions that you hold up as heroes and models - even the ones we should be ashamed about. All history is not good history. Mistakes were made in our history and by our so-called heroes. It’s OK to re-evaluate them in hindsight and with wisdom and judgement, elevate some and dismiss others. For too long, the former Confederate states and most of their white Christian citizens have honored people and actions that should be shameful. The longer this wrongness persists, the more embarrassing it becomes.

Clrzero

Are you sure that monuments and statues are not just markers of time and place? There is nothing stopping people with other ideas from making a marker of time and place. It seems to me that monuments etc serve as information of what happened. I leave it to myself to judge how I feel about an event. Opinions are no good to anybody but themselves.I would prefer to see more monuments and markers than taking down statues that I don't agree with. History does not embarrass me, but people who want to change it to fit their needs do. Honor somebody you care about. There are many people and events worthy.Do not disgrace other peoples monuments because you unhappy with an event or person.

Eredmon

Despite your own personal history, and assuming that you are human you undoubtedly have some, I doubt that your mother would take your picture down. I wonder when some people, like you Slowe, will move past petty Issues like this and actually become more constructive towards the real problems that face our nation. There are many. The rest of us are too busy trying to keep you from messing up the future instead of wallowing in the past.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.