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Letter: Memorials to veterans, past deserve honor, not destruction
NICK BOWMAN | The Times The back face of the Confederate monument in downtown Gainesville notes the statue dedicated to the "convictions" of the South.

The events in Charlottesville, Va., were indeed a tragedy. Removing the history of Gainesville, Ga., will not elevate society to any level. 

In a recent letter, Kathy Anderson asks of the monument. What does it teach us? What does it help us to become? The answer is inscribed on the monument itself. “Tell ye children of it and let your children tell their children and their children another generation.” 

This is the message the monument delivers to remember the solders of the South and also has come to symbolize the veterans of all wars from Hall County who made the ultimate sacrifice. It teaches you to revere our veterans who fought in the past and are fighting today. 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Jim Crow era had its beginnings in 1877 and existed until the 1950s up until the Civil Rights movement. Using Anderson’s logic, every monument, marker or building in Gainesville and Georgia would have had ties to the Jim Crow era. How many structures do you recommend taking down? 

She labels these soldiers as a traitorous group. President William McKinley in 1898, after the Spanish-American War, delivered a speech on Dec. 14, 1898, that urged reconciliation based on the fact that so many previously Confederate soldiers had outstanding service to the country in that war. Here is part of what he said: “... every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor ... And the time has now come ... when in the spirit of fraternity we should share in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers .” These were American Veterans with sons and daughters went on to fight during World War II. 

Does anyone remember Helen Dortch Longstreet, wife of Gen. James Longstreet, who at the age of 80 stood alongside many Georgia Women to build B29s in the Bell Bomber plant? Helen was a staunch defender of Gen. Longstreet. Apparently she must have been representing a racist narrative. 

A group called the Democratic Socialists of America came and protested at the monument. Several of these groups are protesting in every county and all using the same script Anderson is using. Oddly, this attack on monuments did not come about during the previous presidential administration. 

The Socialist Party Movement had its beginnings during the Jim Crow era from 1876 until today. The socialist ideas came from communism and were written by Karl Marx and Frederic Engels. Among the goals of the communists/socialists is to use student riots to foment public protests, take control of the press, eliminate all good sculptures from parks and buildings and also control art critics and directors of art museums. 

These are just some of the goals of communism. The right thing here is to embrace history and not erase history. 

Old Joe has quietly guarded the city of Gainesville for over a century. Please give him Georgia’s veterans the respect they deserve. 

Barry Colbaugh

Buford, Georgia

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