Letter – Statue should remain for 1,000 years
To The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors:
It is my understanding that a couple has requested that the Lunenburg Board of Supervisors look into removing the Confederate monument that sits looking south on the courthouse grounds. I will not question the motives of those that seek to do such a thing. Has anyone that has come to our fine courthouse ever felt threatened or oppressed by this silent sentinel of a time so long ago?
Many of those in favor of removing monuments will tell you that the Civil War was fought over slavery. While it certainly was an issue for some, it was not the main issue. Less than a fourth of Confederate soldiers possessed slaves or were from slave holding families. Economics mainly high tariffs on southern goods played a much larger role in going to war. “State’s Rights”, simply the belief that the power of government rested with each individual state not the federal government was a huge factor in going to war. The final tipping point for many southerners was President Lincoln’s call for a quota of troops (Virginia’s was 100,000) to force the states that wanted to secede to remain in the Union.
Lunenburg County was an early proponent of secession. Most men assembled at the courthouse in 1861 said that if Virginia did not secede, then Lunenburg would secede from Virginia and become a Free State. The Richmond newspapers picked up on this and began calling the county “The Free State of Lunenburg.” To this day, the county proudly bears that nickname. How long will it be before this name is deemed offensive and retired by the forces of political correctness?
Our Confederate monument was dedicated on August 17, 1915 in Victoria. My understanding is that he was moved to the courthouse grounds in 1968 due to repeated vandalism over the years while sitting across from the Victoria Elementary School, which was built long after the monument had been installed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Of course those wanting to take our monument down, don’t offer up any type of plan for where it would go or how the costs associated with this move would be paid for. We all know that the taxpayer would be paying the bill. I really believe they would be happy if he went to the landfill to never be seen again.
The following steps should be taken prior to any removal. First, the matter needs to be placed on the ballot and voted on by all of the citizens of Lunenburg County. If this results in a removal vote, then the board should have in a place a relocation plan for the monument. As part of that plan, the board needs to seek bids as to what a safe removal would cost taxpayers.
I respectfully ask that our Confederate monument stays where he is at and visitors a thousand years from now will see him. We do not need to erase our history 1984 style like Richmond has sadly done.
Timothy V. Hatley