by Chris Cicchiello
Getting ready to go on vacation, a news banner popped up on my phone, with the headline: “Watch Now: Riot in Charlottesville, VA Leaves One Dead and Numerous More Injured.” Clicking on it, I was met with horrifying images of people in full Nazi garb saluting Hitler, of men proudly waving Confederate flags, and of Ku Klux Klan members lifting flaming torches. It looked like a spectacle reminiscent of the riots in the 50s in the 60s. Except it was not; the date underneath read August 12, 2017.
Upon delving into the article further, I discovered it was in protest of a Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue being taken down. For hundreds of years, this statue stood, but as government officials and citizens alike realized it was not politically correct, they planned to have it removed.
Now many statues across the South are being put into question: Do they represent our nation’s history and remind us of the hardships we have overcome? Or do they represent slavery, hatred, intolerance and division?
Although it is important to remember the nation’s history so as to not relive the evils of the past, doing so with a Confederate statue seemingly glorifies the time period. Therefore, I believe that statutes such as these are damaging to the towns they are in, and that they imply that it is perfectly acceptable to have a Confederate flag attached to a pick-up.
With that being said, an alternative to removing the hundreds of statues and plaques could be to place them in a Civil War museum. Already, in response to the march in Virginia, 14 statues have been removed and many more proposals to remove controversial statues are in the works.
“My history teacher at my high school [Lafayette, Louisiana] started the Civil War unit by saying, ‘Today we will start to break down The War of Northern Aggression,’” freshman at Harvard University, Clarke Patrone said. This goes to show that there are certainly people who view the Civil War in a different light. So for now ,all we can do is tear down the statues that incite violence and false patriotism in the Alt-Right group, and be ready to help those who are being victimized by these riots.