John Hanno, tarbabys.com August 17, 2017
Mr. Trump Wants to Keep Our “Beautiful Confederate Statues and Monuments”
‘We Must Tear Them Down’
All across America, cities and towns, big and small, are debating whether the toxic reminders of our Civil War and a fatally divided country should finally be torn down.
I think a better idea, in this age of worsening climate change, would be to melt down and recycle these toxic metal sculptures and then turn them into a grand Washington monument, to those who fought and died to heal the country during reconstruction, to those who’ve spent their lives bringing America’s races together instead of dividing us and to our black brothers and sisters who paid some of the highest costs for that war and its ongoing consequences.
Its a sad thing indeed, as we’ve witnessed since our incursion into Iraq, when radical Islamic terrorists tear down or destroy the centuries old artifacts or monuments to any semblance of a religion or culture that doesn’t conform to their narrow extreme ideology.
This is not the same. Most of these Civil War monuments were constructed many decades after the civil war ended, most during the height of Jim Crow. In many cases, they were used to glorify and rewrite the most painful and divisive episodes in our history.
My idea, not new of course, would be to turn our “Swords into Plowshares.” Something resourceful folks have been doing for centuries.
We could model it after the “Swords to Plowshares Memorial Bell Tower” project; only on a much grander scale.
“The Swords to Plowshares Memorial Bell Tower, initiated by the Eisenhower Chapter of Veterans For Peace, is a traveling monument dedicated to stopping the cycle of war and violence, healing the wounds of war that is caused on both sides of conflict, and providing a forum for all victims to start the healing process caused by wars.
Wherever the tower appears, veterans and victims of war of different national origins will ring the bell and share stories of how their families have been effected by war. It is hoped that an honest dialogue about the costs of war may help victims heal and veterans recover from the “moral injury” that has been linked to an epidemic of veteran suicides.
Roger Ehrlich and Joe McTaggert built the bell tower from reclaimed steel, aluminum cans and a bell donated from the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill who unburied it during renovations. The tower is made of 4 stackable pieces, each 6 feet high, so when assembled the tower stands 24 feet high. The aluminum bricks are each attached independently to allow movement from the wind, and reflect the sun and lights from the surface. The bell is suspended within the tower and can be rung by pulling on an attached rope.”
The plaque on the tower reads:
I think we should have a contest to create a plaque for a new Washington monument, dedicated to those who work tirelessly to bring all races and religions together.
My own version would be:
‘Turn Relics of a Sad War Into a Symbol of Hope and Change’
To Mark the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation;
Rational Folks of All Races and Religions Dedicate this Monument;
Made from Remnants Donated from Repentant Confederate States;
To Victims, Soldiers and Families who Suffered this Unresolved Conflict;
Without Regard to Race, Religion, Family History or Political Persuasion;
To Those Who Find no Comfort in Perpetrating Our National Disgrace;
To Those Who Struggle to Heal or Bridge Our Racial or Political Divides;
We Erect a Monument to America’s Ability to Forgive and Forget;
To Call For an End to All Racial Animosity and Persecution;
In Order to Spare All Future Generations the Same Fate!
Donald Trump said: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,”
But if he’s so concerned about our historical legacy fading away, then for every civil war relic, who folks like Mr. Trump insist on preserving, there should be a companion monument displaying the other side of the issue of slavery. Maybe a statue next to Robert E. Lee, (who did more than almost anyone to preserve slavery, even after the war) depicting one of our black brothers hanging from a tree limb at the end of a rope. And along side other Confederate monuments, maybe a group of peaceful protesters being attacked by police armed with clubs, attack dogs and fire hoses. Or maybe a depiction of Emmett Till lying in his coffin with thousands of mourners filing by his mutilated body.
Of course we probably wouldn’t do that. There’s no glory in such a display. No regal soldier dressed in his uniform and perched on a beautiful horse. Just pain and suffering.
Maybe if we tear down all these painful reminders, we can finally turn the corner on the tenuous race relations that keep bubbling up to the surface. John Hanno www.tarbabys.com