On April 9th, 1865, Lee and Grant came together at Appomattox Court house after years of civil war. The terms of surrender were lenient; the Confederates are to keep their horses and arms and the officers were not imprisoned. Everyone was to go home.
For years after those events Union and Confederate veterans would come together from time to time; particularly at Gettysburg, PA. where they would celebrate this reconciliation. It was a beautiful sight, and photos of those gathering exist to this day. On the fields of Gettysburg are both the statues of the Confederate and Union generals.
If we were to tear down every statue of every sinful man there would be none left standing.
Why shouldn’t we tear down these statues? Because those who came before us didn’t. These statues are not there in praise of vice, but in praise of virtue; the virtue of reconciliation. In that year of 1865 the nation could have taken the path of retribution, and many were clamoring for it, but instead they sought to honor each other. These statues are signs of peace.
While Grant and Lincoln’s noble acts of reconciliation helped restore the Union; there were other acts of retribution that often threatened to tear it to pieces. Carpetbaggers and Northern politicians sought financial and political gains over the south; constantly bringing up their rebelliousness and their past sin as a weapon of subjugation. Freed slaves were used as political pawns by Northern politicians creating resentment and prejudices. Feeling powerless and threatened, many a Southerner resorted to violence.
Let’s not take that road again