End the Madness
This is a rough draft in preparation for a public statement I will make soon. Thought I would share it.
Thank you for the opportunity to make a statement today. My father is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was a career naval officer who flew combat missions in Vietnam. While I can’t be certain he would agree with all I am about to say, I believe he would, and I say it in his honor.
There are three reasons you must stop the destruction of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.
The first is that it is the right thing to do. It is right to let those who decided to erect the monument a century ago to continue being heard. It is the height of arrogance to think we know better than the Union Veterans who attended the unveiling. Who are we to say three different Presidents of the United States were wrong? One of them was a Union veteran. It is right to let their efforts at reconciliation be a beacon for today and the future.
The second reason to save the Ezekiel monument to reconciliation is that calls for its destruction are political, even in the military. General Mark Milley is on record calling Southerners who fought for the Confederacy traitors. He did this while testifying in Congress. The Vice Chair of the Naming Commission, Ty Seidule, called Confederates traitors in a celebratory Tweet announcing the completion of the Naming Commission’s reports. You may agree Confederate leaders were traitors, but that view is as political now as it was when Republicans in Congress said so in the 1860s. No Confederate was even tried for treason.
The third reason is that you have an opportunity to turn the tide. To say enough is enough. Confederates are low hanging fruit. Think for a minute. We are contemplating destroying a memorial in a cemetery. General Eisenhower led a segregated military. Now there is a fort named after him. There is already talk that the USS Stennis should be renamed because Stennis was a segregationist.
Please end the madness. It is the right thing to do. The calls for destruction are political. Your courage is required to turn the tide. Thank you.