January 12, 2008

Only in Richmond

would grown ups play Civil War reenactment in conjunction with the Virginia Historical Society Museum's exhibition on "Lee and Grant" opening day. At least that is the best answer I can come up with being that I have looked at 10 different "this day in American history" sites. Nothing monumental happened on January 12th during the Civil War ...unless you count General Kilpatrick being promoted in 1865.

Driving down Monument Ave. today in Richmond you can't miss the men dressed as Confederate soldiers pacing around the Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues as if they are protecting and guarding a sacred living being. Ohhh and then we have a pseudo old timey Civil War camp site set up at the base of the Lee Monument today too. Children carry little Confederate flags as they toddle around the statue holding tiny tribute to something they couldn't possibly fathom as sick or wrong.

This will be my 7th year living away from the Hoboken, NJ / NYC area and in Richmond Virginia and yet I still haven't gotten used to the nearly quarterly events that take place around town commentating the Civil War or more specifically the Confederacy.

I get it, Richmond was the Confederate capital but was is the key word there. This is 2008 and we live in a united country now. In this modern age you can't deny that generally speaking people associate the Confederacy and it's symbols with supporting slavery and to see men in that uniform today doesn't remind people of Richmond's rich historical past, it looks more like a shrine to white power while holding a bayonet. You can tell me that these people are celebrating some other aspect of the Civil War all you want but the the me who grew up living North of the Mason Dixon line finds this tribute to this racially charged war and the men who led it, sickening. Its like commending Hitler as a non meat eater because he was a vegetarian too. Sure he may have not eaten animals but he still stood for something despicable and murdered millions of people. You can tell people the swastika is an ancient symbol for power and good luck predating World War II by centuries but regardless of its once innocent past the symbol has been forever tainted. A swastika means hate and spilled blood now. Period. I find romanticizing the Civil War troubling to say the least and to have it literally marching in my front yard today is vile, plain and simple.

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