Tens of thousands of warrior memorials exist in the world today. War memorial statuary is found in Germany, Russia, England, France, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, India, Vietnam, China, Africa, the United States and elsewhere. Honoring defenders made sense since the beginning of humanity. Communities who fail to honor their past and present defenders are jeopardizing their own survival.
Please forgive this newcomer’s comments about a sensitive subject. I’m talking about that Confederate Infantryman on duty in front of our reconstructed courthouse in the center of my new hometown. Well-meaning friends insist I avoid discussing this subject. Yet seeing that brave young soldier striding through the middle of main street traffic inspires respectful consideration. I need to respond to his call. FYI “Chatham (County) furnished 1900 soldiers to the Confederacy.”
I’m guessing African-Americans get everything there is to get about honoring military service because their people have been loyally serving in our nation’s armed forces since the American Revolution. Yorktown Virginia 1781 General George Washington’s troops surround Cornwallis’s army; the Redcoats are forced to surrender. A significant number of African-American infantry are part of Washington’s victorious force.
It should be easy to understand why the descendants of any people recently subject to centuries of the degrading exploitation known as human slavery turn away from statues memorializing warriors serving governments constitutionally dedicated to the long-term systematic suppression of their ancestors.
A prominent national developer who already owns the necessary land is offering to bring greater prosperity as well as 50,000 newcomers into Pittsboro, North Carolina. Chatham folks are wondering about the pluses and the minuses if and when their county is challenged to absorb this small city.
Someday welcoming 50,000 newcomers may be our opportunity to share. People create and react to their social changes in different ways. Adding memorials commemorating a celebrated moment in the history of American independence is a growth opportunity too. Consider adding a voluntarily financed statue of an African-American Continental Army infantryman participating in a Yorktown victory formation.