DAVE CLARKE

With the recent activity regarding the removal or even destruction of Confederate monuments throughout the South, I felt it was time that I respond. I have read of some people locally who would like to do away with the monument in front of the Clarke County Courthouse. They feel that it represents some sort of intent to intimidate black people or even promotes white supremacy. I can tell you that this monument represents neither of those things.

A little background on the monument is in order. It was erected in 1880; 10 years after the end of the U.S. Army occupation of Virginia. Due to the devastated economy of the South, it took that long to raise enough funds to build it. The monument is a granite sculpture of a common foot soldier, not a general or a dashing cavalryman. He has no name. In fact, he has his hat in his hand, has no weapon and carries no cartridge box. He is hardly an intimidating figure.

A contemporary account at the raising of the monument described it this way, in part:

“The base is four feet square, and with the pedestal is twelve feet in height. Surmounting these is a heroic figure, eight feet high…with arms folded, with bare head and eyes cast down, the embodiment in stone of one who, after having given up home, friends, and country in defense of principles, now that the struggle is over and all lost, almost as in a dream begins to realize the situation. And yet there is something of hope in the expression on the face — a hope which has found fruition in the part of the soldiers of the Lost Cause have played in the progress and advancement of our united country since the close of the war.”

The inscription on the monument says it all:

“Erected to the memory of the sons of Clarke who gave their lives in defense of the rights of states and of constitutional government. Fate denied them success, but they achieved imperishable fame.”

This is not a monument meant to coerce or intimidate. It is a monument to commemorate the 107 common soldiers of Clarke County who died defending their rights, their homes and their families. Were their leaders sometimes bombastic and hypocritical? Certainly. Were their politicians quick to take offense and unwilling to compromise? Undoubtedly. It was described then, as in most every war, before or since, as a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. This monument is to that poor man.

If these men, who had literally been at each other’s throats, could lay down their arms, make peace with their brethren from the North and form a new and even stronger United States of America, we certainly owe them the decency of keeping the monument they raised. This monument stands as a reminder of where we as a nation have been and gives hope for the future for what we can attain. We must keep this monument.

Dave Clarke is a resident of Clarke County.

(28) comments

Journey2goremtns1

It's not about street names or statues. It's about destroying everything American! These radical extremist won't stop until all things American are destroyed.

Bryan.the.Nuri

So being American is celebrating the losing side of a failed rebellion?

Got it.

Doc Samson

Hey, Bry, remember those stats? Yeah, perhaps you should just shut up until you produce any evidence to back up anything you say...

Also, you never "got it" and likely never will...

we66

The most serious problem we have is not whether the statues should stay or go but the logical extension to the current activity is to remove statues and monuments of former slave owners and change the names of places named for them. Shall we start with G. Washington, and Jefferson by removing the Washington Monument, level Mt Vernon, destroy the Jefferson Memorial and changing the name of Washington, DC? That folks, is where we are going.

Pray for a strong leader who can lead us out of this quagmire.

It will be interesting to see how many of the black community change their slave names (Washington, Jefferson, ) to something else.

Right here in Berryville there are many streets named for southern generals and if you want to consider name changes, google Lord Fairfax whose name adorns Lord Fairfax Highway.

Bryan.the.Nuri

That's actually not a logical extension at all. History is not only written by the victors, but it features them prominently. Jeffersopn didn't get "cancelled" because he had slaves, not did he when Sally Hemings came to light. What happened was a reevaluation of the man, I forgot where we burned down Monticello and rededicated UVa.

This statue, like the rest, was not erected to merely honor history, but to enshrine a hierarchy and remind black people where they came from. Jim Crow, Massive Resistance, etc were all about sending messages.

Historians rely on artifacts to assess history. Sometimes, that mean they will come across things that may challenge their preconceived notions or previously held facts. Mature historians know that this is part of the process of learning.

jps320161

Beauregard fired on Sumter only after months of negotiations failed and Lincoln authorized a significant reinforcement. Till then citizens of Charleston, mainly the women, sent small boats of food to the garrison, whom they did not consider an enemy. When the fort surrendered, with no casualties, Beauregard permitted the garrison to evacuate with their flag and full military honors. No prisoners. Lincoln refused to receive Confederate peace envoys, who were prepared to offer payment for federal military installations, their share of national debt, and free navigation on the Mississippi. Lincoln's response was an invasion to force the seven Confederate States back into the Union. Yet you would assume those states, with no standing army or navy, intentionally sought war with the U.S., the only motivation being to prolong slavery. Only with war did four more states join the Confederacy. Many of y ou, being morally superior to your ancestors, certainly wouldn't have considered fighting for the Confederacy. Think of it. If only you had been around in 1861 instead of your forebears things would have been so different. O r go back to 1776. You wouldn't have joined those rebels and slave owning traitors seeking independence from Great Britain, right? Just remember, when you convince yourself you know what was in the minds of those who have gone before, you too will someday be judged.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Mr Clarke's thesis dies when he mentions the "Lost Cause" as a reason for the monument's dedication.

The Lost Cause refers to a movement in the South to ennoble the Civil War as the plight of the tired and oppressed South against the evil Northern overlords, making the war a noble fight for the underdog. This mythologizing happened soon after the war as a way for the descendants of the veterans to not be ashamed of the stain of rebellion in their families. It's why Decoration Days happened to soon after the Civil War, before even the US instituted a Memorial Day. They had to keep the story going that theirs was a noble, divine cause.

These days, it's sad to see so many people wrapped up in the binds of a myth that only serves as a lie. Why should we celebrate the losing side of a failed rebellion? I thought we were a country of winners...

stardust

The south tried to fracture the US by seceding. The south, under Beauregard, fired first shot on Fort Sumpter. Slavery was the primary reason for the war. There was much discussion about slavery and whether it would be legal in newer states as the western expansion continued. Even Mosby remarked that it was his belief that slavery was what the war was about.

That being said, the statue is a memorial to the locals who died in the war. Barnett Park has a War Memorial building, a Korean War memorial, and a POW/MIA memorial. Perhaps the place for a Civil War memorial (and statues) would be the park?? Or maybe Mt Hebron?

stonewaller116

stardust I'm having a really hard time comprehending the severe brainwashing that has infected your mind. I hope you are not contagious and seek help for that

Bryan.the.Nuri

Calm down, snowflake. The Lost Cause is a myth.

Doc Samson

So almost every "fact" you post, but you don't let that shut you up, do you?

Amerhome

Although I agree with Mr. Clarke with respect to Civil War soldier statues, I do believe it is time to retire statues of southern generals and politicians from prominent display where their continued presence could be interpreted as a support for the disgraceful increased public displays of racism in both words and deeds. His point that "This monument is to that poor man" is well taken. Old men start wars and young men die in them. The choice to erect a statue honoring lost sons, spouses, parents, other relatives and neighbors was simultaneously a decision NOT to recognize the politicians and military leaders who caused or conducted the war. Many of those dead soldiers were buried on the battlefield and not returned home where they could be provided a respectful barrier. Those statues of soldiers, including the one here in Winchester and many in northern towns and cities, serve as a constant reminder of the tragedy of wars with your countrymen. Lets remove statues that can be interpreted by many as supporting slavery and leave those that should remind us of the sad consequences of civil wars.

Spock Here

Yes, this is sensible and appropriate

Robina5

Dave Clarke’s commentary is well thought out and I believe reflects the sentiments of the majority of Clarke County residents.

Slowe, you are obviously a very nasty, embittered, venomous and very unhappy old man who apparently finds pleasure in insulting anyone who might have different views than your twisted, sad and hopeless philosophy. Please try to keep your nasty comments to yourself. You bring nothing beneficial to any conversation. You have chosen to live in D.C. – I’m sure the Washington Post would love to hear from you…

slowe

I wonder if people like Mr. Clark are truly hopeless? Mis-educated, Brainwashed by their public school teachers and text books, he probably believes that what he wrote is a true and accurate description of history. It is skewed with white supremacy, racism and just plain ignorance. He suffers from privilege blindness - naively unaware of how wrong he is. He writes. The soldiers “ gave their lives in defense of the rights of states and of constitutional government. Fate denied them success, but they achieved imperishable fame.” THe right that the [confederate traitor] states were fighting for was the right to keep their enslaved Africans longer - which was threatened by Lincoln’s election. They were followers of their leaders, pawns for them, used by them: state legislators and governors and their slave holding constituents and funders. The war was fought by traitors to the nation, for the purpose of defending the institution and economy and system of slavery as free labor for their economic and social benefit. No statue of so-called Innocent defenders of their country can make them into honorable patriots. Their cause and their rebellion was shameful and not honorable, It and they are unworthy of statues or monuments. Take them all down as we cleanse ourselves of the false memories, the romanticizations and revisionist history we have been taught by unrepentant losers, racist Christians.

Conservative

You know what slowe? For someone who demands others tolerate and even celebrate your lifestyle choices, you certainly have shown you have no tolerance for those who do not support your beliefs. Your judgement day will come. May God have mercy on your soul.

Spock Here

Agreed.

ginamcintire

Amen.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Are you gaybashing again? No wonder you need to keep your identity private...

ralcabin

After having glanced through all the comments in today's paper, & specifically yours, I think your identity is misleading. I believe it should be Bryan.the.instigator, there fixed it for you, you're welcome.

Doc Samson

Gaybashing? Oh, brother, you really don't understand syntax, the English language, or most of the human population in general, do you? Always asking for definitions, explanations, to have food wiped off your face, etc. Annoying, but trying sooo hard to be... something... [lol]

stonewaller116

slowe troll... You are so much fun to read. I really didn't know I was such a racist, white supremacist, white privileged, ignorant, unrepentant loser, racist Christian. Whew. I'm glad you're so eloquent to point that out to me in your self-righteous insults. Now why don't you do everyone a favor and go cleanse yourself from your own racist and hateful ways. You do fully realize that your comments are racist, correct?

Bryan.the.Nuri

Wow... slow your roll, anonymous coward.

stonewaller116

Bryan (a.k.a. Brain), you seem to be just as self righteous as the slowe troll. Just because you disagree with the "lost cause" (a label not placed by themselves but placed on them to denigrate their reasons for taking up arms and fighting) to those who fought in the south for what they believed and the constitution which their grandfathers believed, makes you look petty and close-minded. Ah! Alas, you are. As a full-on leftist troll, John Lennonist look-a-like, I bet you sing Imagine before you go to bed at night. Nice google pics.

Bryan.the.Nuri

"full on leftist troll"... brave words from someone hiding behind anonymity.

Doc Samson

@stonewaller116 - If you don't support the Leftist agenda 1000% then, yeah, you're pretty much the worst human who EVAAAR LIVED! Except for Trump... no one is worse that him! Makes Hitler look like Mother Theresa, don'tchaknow? [lol]

Spock Here

Well, wrong again, Biff. I don't support the leftist, or the democrat for that matter, agenda 100 percent and I am a pretty fine human being. But do continue with your warped analyses.

Doc Samson

@Spock - I wasn't necessarily referring to you. Also, I prefer to go by "Chad"... [lol]

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