I’ve often wondered where the Confederate monument came from in my hometown. Who put it up? What were they like? What must my town have been like to erect such a thing? Further – what must the South have been like in general?
These same sorts of monuments exist in almost every small town in the South, all of similar style and fashion; there are a few odd exceptions though – the one in Currituck Co. North Carolina for example:
However different it is from the rest, it’s certainly as ugly as the rest. Ugliness aside, these monuments have become religious centers for me; spots of focused divinity I salute when passing and if I’m ever in need of serious prayer, I sit nearby and focus on them. Afterall, they represent the last effort of Christendom to defeat the gates of Hell … an effort that was brutally crushed. Now Satan gets the daily news as a monument to his victory, we southerners get ugly, half-forgotten statues.
William Alexander Percy, in his “Lanterns on the Levee”, has this to say about the monuments:
…you will find in any Southern town a statue in memory of the Confederate dead, erected by the Daughters of something or other, and made, the townsfolk will respectfully tell you, in Italy. It is always the same: a sort of shaft or truncated obelisk, after the manner of the Washington Monument, on top of which stands a little man with a big hat holding a gun. If you are a Southerner you will not feel inclined to laugh at these efforts, so lacking in either beauty or character, to preserve the memory of their gallant and ill-advised forebears. I think the dash, endurance, and devotion of the Confederate soldier have not been greatly exaggerated in song and story; they do not deserve these chromos in stone.
Sentiment driveling into sentimentality, poverty, and, I fear, lack of taste are responsible for them, but they are the only monuments which are dreadful from the point of view of aesthetics, craftsmanship, and conception that escape being ridiculous. They are too pathetic for that. Perhaps a thousand years from now the spade of some archaeologist will find only these as relics of and clues to the vanished civilization we call ours. How tragically and comically erroneous his deductions will be!