My turn: the circumstances surrounding a Confederate statue's pl - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My turn: the circumstances surrounding a Confederate statue's placement

Confederate War memorial in downtown Wilmington (Source: WECT) Confederate War memorial in downtown Wilmington (Source: WECT)

I mentioned in a previous commentary that removing Confederate statues isn’t always the best solution, and I still stand by that statement.

But as we learn more about this topic and hear more from people who are discussing this issue, it seems to me that we should consider the future of these statues on a case-by-case basis.

One thing I had not considered until this point is the nature of how and why these statues were put in place in the first place. I think each statue should be studied for the circumstances surrounding its placement.  

In some cases, we’re finding the monuments were put up with the intention to be a permanent reminder of suppressing the rights of another race. I can see how that can be hurtful and a painful reminder of a dark time in our country’s history. 

We can’t just make a blanket statement about these monuments. Instead, we need to have a thoughtful and open discussion and see if that doesn’t get us to a better place.  

That’s my turn. Now it’s your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.


Emailed comments from viewers:

When are we going to remove the statue of the confederate war hero from the corner of 3rd and Market? It's a pretty grim sight to see when you enter the downtown area. I imagine tourists love seeing a memorial to a racist and fascist. I wonder if at least we could modify it to resemble an actual fascist, maybe Stalin? That may actually increase tourism. Thoughts?

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Our country is made of different people. I think everyone needs to go back to school and read history books. The civil war was not what people think it was. There were blacks and whites that fought in the war. So does neither group deserve to be honored. They were fighting for what they believed in. I love my country but I hate was has become of our people. Seems like everyone wants to fight we go from one thing another. Please leave our history alone. My prayer is that everyone will start working together. 

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People rather it be religion

Or hate white or black. They just don't get that the same shoes feel different to other people.

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I did not vote for trump and don't agree with most of what he says but, I believe all people have a dislike of some kind toward other people. Taking down monuments or removing flags is not going to change history. A lot of white people don't like black people and a lot of black people don't like white people. That's the way it is and has always been. There are bad people in both sides. And there is the problem..sides. Everything is always us against them, everything. From white and black to democrats and republicans from the police and the public. It is always us against them. That is what's wrong with this country. If everyone would stop picking sides and just be human things would be much better. 

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George Washington, the father of our country, owned slaves. Certainly racist and unacceptable in our society today. Would it be acceptable and appropriate to tear down all statues, pictures, etc of him from all public facilities? Would that put all the controversy to rest. Appease the rioters, flag burners, etc and that will put all at ease? I think not. Hopefully, we as Americans, have more in common that should bring us together rather than divide us. Seems that politicians are more interested in how the majority of voters feel at any particular moment, than thinking through the reasoning behind their actions. I suggest prayer and contemplation before action would be a better approach.

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Sometimes I disagree with you 180 degrees on issue,but we're together on this one.....But even when I don't agree with you, I agree that you have your right to feel the way you do.

   I am distraught looking at what at our country is becoming. I am distraught by fake news web sites, and seeing people in the same family curse each other on Facebook. I don't know where it's going to end, but pray that individuals will learn to sit down in a civil manner and talk with one another.

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   Slavery is a stain to any country. My wife's white grandfather was a slave.  The Confederacy consisted of Americans. If some are determined to have Confederate statues removed because of "what they represent (slavery)", go for it. However, Confederate memorials deserve to stand. Those memorials are dedicated to actual people, who had actual families, actual mothers and were actual Americans whose deaths deserve respect and dignity. Not everyone who fought believed in slavery. War memorials represent ALL who fought. No place should be given to judge what a soldier believed, or didn't believe when he served. 

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 On 17 Aug, 2017 you spoke on how each one of us should accept the beliefs of others. I agree 100%, but you and your station do not follow this thought as a theme for your news. To many "groups" believe that their beliefs should be legislated into law. For example - abortion rights, civil rights, sexual preference, etc.- They feel that their beliefs are the only "right" ones and they should be the law of the land. We love to say " majority rules" but that means the minority is left out and has to turn to violence and/or protests to have their thoughts and beliefs heard. If the media was to promote the understanding of both (maybe all three) sides of an issue it would help. Our society is to learn the art of tolerance, we must be educated and listen to all sides of the issue.

With your "bully Pulpit" you have an opportunity to help society with the need to listen.  I hope you use it wisely.

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Your recent editorial demonstrated part of the problem...LABELS. Statues erected in Wilmington and elsewhere long after the Civil War are an affront to many, pariicularly those who suffered during AND since the Civil War, having to witness that period being HONORED, or remembered with anything approaching respect. 

Many Nazis felt Hitler had a just cause at the time also. The Civil War and almost 100 years, and counting, to have desegration and equality recognized in our country should not be celebrated by statues, such as we have in Wilmington AND in our nation's capital. They were often erected to celebrate bigotry.

Shame on you for perpetuating this as a liberal vs.  Conservative issue!!#

You certainly helped define the ongoing problem with your sanctimonious editorial message.

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I didn't hear any mentions of Nazis, David Duke, the KKK and White Supremacists.

You are way too transparent.  Try to be just a little more subtle in your efforts to support the authoritarian divider in chief, please.  You insult our intelligence too often with your insipid commentaries.

Who ever said you should express your views on a news program anyway?!   

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I found some interesting information regarding Confederate veterans as a whole.  

By an act of Congress in 1957 (US Public Law 85-425. Sec 410, Approved 23 May 1958) Confederate soldiers, sailors and marines from the Civil War were made US veterans.  On Feb. 26th, 1929, the War Department was directed to erect headstones and recognize Confederate grave sites and US war grave sites.  Therefore, any removal of a Confederate statue, monument or headstone is the removal of a statue, monument or headstone of a US veteran. 

That put it all in perspective for me.  I grew up a Yankee and I am glad the North won the war.  Honoring soldiers from either side is both patriotic and necessary.

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Confederate States of America monuments are the equivalent of America erecting monuments to the Americans who spied for the USSR. In both cases American citizens abandoned their loyalty to the United States of America and traded them for loyalties to another nation (the Confederate States of America and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic respectively). Both are history that we should teach our children, and both histories belong in museums or at historical sites.

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There are two principles that were the basis for the formation of the Confederacy:

1. Treason - states forcefully withdrawing from the United States without consent (due process) of American citizens to create a new country based on the economy of slavery. We don't celebrate Benedict Arnold, so we should not celebrate others that betrayed our country. The statutes to Hitler and Stalin in Europe were removed, and we should also remove the Confederate monuments.

2. Trafficking - the Confederacy fought for human trafficking of slaves consisting of rape and laws allowing slave masters to sell their own children. Our society does not celebrate rape, it does not celebrate selling one's own children, so I do not consider celebrating the Confederacy honorable or American.

President Lincoln presented a moral imperative, and leaders of the Confederacy rejected that moral standard and fought to take over parts of this country and create their own government. Consider this West Point History Professor's explanation of the slavery basis for the Confederacy and the timing (during desegregation) when many of these monuments were erected:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcy7qV-BGF4

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Your and my opinions rarely vary much, but my appreciation is not so much the particular issues, rather the ambiance of your thinking.  You consistently come across as one who has plumbed both sides of an issue and have not rushed to judgment.  To me, your inclination to be fair to both sides of any issue is far more important than any of the particulars you’ve raised.  I can imagine your saying to yourself, “If someone else had my beliefs and for the sake of argument I wanted to see if he/she could be shown some errors, what might be my observations?  If I delve into this with fair depth, I may nudge a little bit more toward the middle, sometimes hardly any but with a more humble expression of my stance.”

This mien more than any particular issue is what I value most in your episodes of myturn/yourturn.  Should a population move more in this direction, riots would be rare.  

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Reminder of suppression????? It's funny how only flaming liberals deduct such nonsense. History is supposed to be recorded whether good or bad to prevent intelligent humans from repeating the bad! I also hate to break it to you but the Civil War wasn't just about slavery..... Also deleted were the facts like the North screwing the South economically.  Your liberal voice speaks volumes over your self professed claims of intelligence. I'm giving up on you and your beloved broadcast joke. You're no better than the left wing terrorists you support. I'm done....

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I have sat back and shook my head with disgust and disbelief with what has been going on in the past couple of weeks. My father was in WWII, he and all the men in that war stood against Hitler and the Nazi idea. 

However at the same time,  being raised in the south they and I are proud of our heritage. That was when a handshake and a person's word meant something, showing respect - you could tell by the way a person acted where they were raised.

As far as these statues that people what to all of a sudden remove, here are some questions I have. What is next Fort Fisher? Are they wanting to close it, after all it was a confederate fort -so lets bulldoze it down. 

While we are down there let's not forget the aquarium- so lets call in PETA and close it down for having animals in tanks and then they can go to the state zoo in Ashboro and close it down too .

But oddly enough many years ago our state senator Jessie Helms begged the senate to do a investigation into Martin Luther King Jr before they made it an official holiday and commissioned the work for that large statue to be made of him in Washington. But his records were ordered sealed till 2027. I guess the laugh will be when his records get opened and come to find out there is a holiday, street names and a statue  in honor of a communist. Wonder who will be wanting to pull his statue down ?

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Instead of being so vague, can you elaborate on the reasons the Confederate statues were placed?  

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As always, I enjoyed your segment on the removal of the Confederate statues. I really like your views on things because you always try to be fair and look at things from more than one side. And you are very calm about it. You have a peaceful air about you. I always turn up the volume a bit and shoosh everyone in the room when My Turn comes on or I watch it on my phone. 

I have mixed feelings about removing the statues that teach us about a major part of our history. That might be surprising to my friends and family because I am very liberal.  I do understand the need to remove them from where they stand because for many they are negative reminders about the time of slavery. 

However, a lot of people don't focus on that part of the war. They had relatives that fought and died in the war and they feel the need to remember their relatives doing this. They don't see the whole picture of what triggered the war and what it stands for ultimately.  So, as usual, there are two main sides arguing over this issue. 

In my opinion, we need to keep these statues to remind us of our history because if we forget our history we might be doomed to repeat it. This is already happening with the way Americans treat Mexican workers.  My suggestion is not to destroy these statues, but to create a museum about the War Between The States with unbiased, correct information. There is a museum about The Holocaust, why not have a museum about the Old South?  That way those who are tied emotionally to their relatives who fought and died in this war have a place to go and feel connected to their southern heritage, and it can be used as a very important educational museum so we do not forget what happened and do our best not to repeat it. It is imperative to remember our history in my opinion. 

Let's face it, the southern way of life is dying as more northerners settle here (I am not against this, I work in this industry), and although I believe this is a good change for the south because more progressive thinking comes along with these changes, it still makes me feel sad in a way that our slower paced way of life is dying out. But life is change and we must try to change for the betterment of all people. The trick is to learn from our mistakes. 

So let's talk about an educational museum to preserve these statues which teach us about our history. It happened. 

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