Preserve them and learn

Riddhi Andurkar, Managing Editor

When it comes to Confederate statues, there are two main arguments. One argument is that they should be removed because they are a representation of America’s dark past when the country was divided into two separate nations. The second argument is that the statues should be preserved as a symbol of America’s history.

I believe that they should be preserved, only because they are symbols of America’s past and how we have evolved as a country. However, I also believethat these statues and monuments should not be displayed in public, but instead in a museum, accompanied with a brief paragraph for context about the subject of the statue.

I won’t say that I love everything about the monuments, but I will say that it is important to keep these monuments as a reminder for all citizens. These monuments and statues should remind all citizens of what the country’s history was  like, and they serve as a reminder to the country as an example of what the country must not repeat.

The Civil War was the deadliest war fought in American history. The total number of deaths in the Civil War is greater than the deaths of American  soldiers in all other wars combined, according to the Washington Post.

During the Civil War, the whole nation was divided on many issues, the main one being slavery. The statues serve as a reminder of what it was like when family members were forced to oppose each other and fight against each other.

It is true that there is a conflict regarding this issue in the country today, but rather than focus on the divided opinions on this subject, we must focus and try hard not to create a society identical or even similar to the divided society created during the Civil War.

It is more important that we remain united as a country rather than be divided over a simple issue like whether to eliminate a statue that represents a part of our past.

It does not make any sense to eliminate something that represents any major part of a country’s history. If the United States removes and destroys anything and everything that relates to any part of its history, especially the dark parts, then it will seem as though it is trying to erase all the bad memories. The Civil War has happened, and we must keep the statues as a reminder of what we do not want to repeat.

If we do remove these reminders, it will seem as though we are trying to convince ourselves that Americans have never experienced such a dark time and are trying to erase the Civil War from our history.

There are many different museums for the tragedies in the world’s past. For example, there are quite a few museums that inform the public about the Holocaust and World War I and II. Similarly, there are museums and movies designed to inform the public what occurred during these tragedies. What I have noticed when I view an exhibit at a museum or
view a documentary or film about the Civil War or any national or global conflict is that I feel as if there is something that everyone needs to learn from this.

Three years ago, I attended a school field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Ill. Two years later, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I was horrified at the sight of the images on display at both museums. At that moment, I wished that I had all the power in the world to guarantee that these tragedies would never happen again.

I have viewed films and documentaries on the Civil War, and each of them highlights the casualties in the wars. They do not highlight the battles themselves, but focus more on the large number of casualties. This, I believe, is to create that resolution inside every citizen to do all they can to avoid creating a severe divide within the country.

I have also visited multiple memorials such as the 9/11 memorial in New York. Although the memorial stands exactly where the towers stood, in the middle of a lively city, I was horrified at the number of deaths from that attack. I  immediately made a resolution that I would do everything possible to prevent another similar attack and any conflicts that may lead to any of these attacks in the future.

The purpose of preserving Civil War monuments and other statues of figures relating to our history is for there to exist a constant reminder of what our past was, and to remind us to never repeat it. If we choose to eliminate them, it is as if we are running away from the truth.

If Holocaust monuments are being preserved to make sure it doesn’t happen again, then why not Confederate monuments?

We must remember one point. As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”