At the end of the Civil War, hundreds of thousands were dead, the South lay in ruin and defeat, the North stood in Pyrrhic victory. There were no great glorious songs sung to the victors. Everyone was tired and broken. The war had taken America to the threshold of hell and back. The victorious had the comfort of knowing that the deaths of their loved ones preserved the Union. The South was full of men who had all fought for a cause that had been lost. Many of those men were dead.
After reconstruction ended, Southerners began memorializing their men who laid down their lives for their states, but the other side of this coin is that the North allowed Dixie its version of history down to separate holidays for men like Lee and Davis. Leftist narrative will say that it was because even though Northerners died by the hundreds of thousands, they just didn’t care, or secretly agreed with the Southerners because of racism, or something.
Allowing Southerners their shrines to the fallen was a price the Northerners willingly paid. All Northern presidents who allowed this had worn blue during the war — indeed, from Grant to McKinley, every president except Cleveland had served during the Civil War. They knew the real history of the war, and not the post-1960’s racial identity revisionism taught in a university by Cultural Marxists.
A Lasting Peace was far from certain. Rutherford B. Hayes’ election nearly caused another uprising. Both sides compromised, uneasily. When the 1898 war with Spain touched off, half-senile Confederate General Wheeler had to be dusted off and placed in command of the American expeditionary force – just to have the popular support in order to march through the South to Florida where they embarked for Cuba.
The 19th Century gave way to the 20th, and Southern veterans passed away, their loved ones watched sadly as the last of their beloved warriors vanished. The survivors had joined veterans’ groups who petitioned their governments for memorials. Dixie’s Culture of Remembrance was born in the midst of this sadness, much like the WWII commemorations would become popular at the end of the 20th.
But why did the Northern veteran presidents and other Yankee politicians tolerate this remembrance? After all, these memorials were all symbols of treason and racism, right? The dirty little secret is, the memorials were the price the United States paid to avoid having to fight the war a second time with machine guns and barbed wire.
So, here we stand in the early 21st century, the left has a new Leftist school of thought focused on how things are remembered and made into totemic objects, known as Cultural Memory. The Leftist Cultural Memory Police fervently seek the eradication of the Southern Culture of Remembrance. They need to destroy all of the old civilization’s totems and replace them with their own, such as replacing Lee’s Statue in Baltimore with a crudely shaped sculpture of a pregnant black woman. They want Southerners to forget their ancestors. They want the remnants of their culture to vanish.
What they are failing to grasp is that allowing Southerners these statues and these monuments is part of the terms of truce between North and South, and by taking them down, the terms of truce are being violated. If there are Southerners who feel this a violation of the peace and a declaration of war, well, that’s because it is.