Confederate Monument in Leesburg

The Confederate soldier monument in front of the county courthouse in Leesburg.

The General Assembly made the right call last week in advancing legislation that would grant Virginia localities the authority to remove war monuments, notably the dozens across the commonwealth that honor the Confederate cause and the pursuit of keeping slavery alive.

First – and most basically – of course localities should have the choice to decide for themselves whether a monument in their backyard is appropriate in the context of a more thoughtful, empathetic modern day society. Big-government opponents should be applauding the decision for the simple fact it puts power in the government closest to its citizens.

Now, onto the larger issue. Assuming the monument bills eventually secure the governor's signature, it will fall to Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors to pave a path to relocate the Confederate monument that has called the county courthouse grounds home since 1908, a year when at least 60 African Americans across the nation were lynched.

As we and other media outlets have reported time and time again, most Confederate monuments were erected in the throes of Jim Crow. They stood to intimidate black people, to remind them of the pervasive ignorance claiming African Americans were somehow less than.

We aren't calling for all monuments reflecting Confederate history to be removed or replaced. Some are indeed historically suitable.

But when it comes to Leesburg's offering, it's the fact the statue stands front and center at the county courthouse – a place that should be unassailable in the cause of justice and equality – that we can't get past. It's the local placement and context that forces our call for its removal.

As many have suggested, the statue could be moved to one of the numerous local Civil War sites. If historians and war aficionados want to take in the sculpture, they can. And if black and white Americans who find the monument being placed in the center of town offensive want to avoid it, they can do that, too.

It's not about erasing history. It's about respecting your neighbors and the generations of families that have been scarred by the lingering effects of America's original sin.

Lawmakers in the state Senate, where the monument measure passed 21-19, took care in crafting their legislation. The Associated Press reports the “Senate's bill imposes several hurdles not included in the House version that a local government must take before removing a monument.

“Under the measure, local leaders must first pass a resolution stating its intention to remove the monument, then request a report from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources with background about the person depicted and the circumstances under which the monument was established. The locality would then have to make that report public and then hold a public hearing before it could vote. A decision to remove a monument would require a 2/3 vote or could be sent to voters for a referendum.”

We applaud this deliberative approach, helping ensure monument removal isn't done willy nilly, with the snap of the fingers. We insist this issue should, in the end, be a community decision.

For now, we commend lawmakers in Richmond for taking the appropriate first step.

(42) comments

jke

They are American Veteran Monuments. Congress declared all soldiers of the Civil War American veterans.

It’s heritage not hate

amerigirl

debunked by every fact checker. Congress did no such thing.

jke

Marked safe from Loudoun County Court House grounds statue!

amerigirl

?

amerigirl

ace, don't play dumb. Slander is exactly what Rocket did when he stated as a fact something that has not been proven to damage him personally. "That is why people take his yearbook photo as fact."

ace10

Almost forgot about this bit of stupidity. You still don't get it, do you? lolllllllll

BobOhneiserEsq

PUT AN EQUALLY SIZED UNION SOLDIER IN FRONT OF THE COURT HOUSE FACING THE CURRENT CONFEDERATE SOLDIER AND THE ENTIRE MESSAGE CHANGES TO MERELY SHOWING WHAT HAPPENED AS SOLDIERS ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF MANY ISSUES FOUGHT IN LEESBURG. SECOND, GET RID OF THE "DILLON STATE" STATUS MAKING EVERYTHING BE APPROVED BY RICHMOND! :-)

amerigirl

How about no statues? Did you realize you had caps lock on? That's not like you.

Chris McHale

Not commenting on your idea but wondering who will pay for the second soldier?

bluedog20175

In literally the dumbest activity the Loudoun Council is undertaking, they are waiting with baited breath to remove the Confederate soldier monument put up in 1906 by the Daughters of the Confederacy to remember soldiers from Loudoun who fought in the War of Northern Aggression, commonly known as the Civil War.

From the LTM article and this Editorial, one argument is that the monument was put up in "the throes of Jim Crow." While factually true, one did not cause the other. In the early 20th Century, the veterans of the war were getting older and many organizations were establishing monuments before the veterans were all gone. Many monuments had already been put up by veterans on both sides in remembrance. That it happened at the same time as Jim Crow was in swing is like saying the monument in Leesburg caused the San Francisco earthquake, which also happened in 1906. There is no evidence that Loudoun's monument was racist in nature or put there to be suppressive of a portion of the population.

Recently in the Opinion section was an item by the head of the Ball's Bluff Association talking about education programs they provide. Based on the attempt by the Loudoun Council to pander to the "woke" population, I am waiting for the day when the battlefield will have to be closed and plowed under for new homes once the "woke" find there are memorials to Confederate soldiers in that park.

History is what it is. Attempting to hide parts you disagree with does not mean they didn't happen. But if we mean to go this way take it all away -- remembrances of the Civil War, remembrances of American veterans who fought in the war, plaques denoting history of enslaved peoples, and memorials to the horrible legacy of lynchings of our fellow human beings. By today's standard, history can only be based in "now" and can only be examined in the context of today's morals and societal norms.

Funny how our Governor in blackface, standing arm-in-arm with a person dressed in Klan garb, is supporting bills to remove our history. Is he behind it for moral reasons, is he doing it to pretend to make amends, or is he doing it because it aggravates his opposition across the aisle in Richmond when Democrats deny history and hide parts for political gain?

Loudoun County is fortunate in its long history in this country. We have see most major historic events cross our area. Denying that part of that history happened and hiding its relics shows the abject stupidity of the politicians in power.

amerigirl

Your reasoning alone is a reason that the BOS should remove the statue. It was put up by the DAR as they put up so many statues across the US as intimidation. Therefore, one did cause the other. They were massed produced for that reason alone. Having had family who were members of the DAR (very unfortunate) I can tell you that many of them thought the south would rise again. Just remember that during the Jim Crow era is when the Klan, known as the invisible empire in Virginia, resurfaced again. it was most prominent in the Commonwealth during the 1920s and resurged during the 1950s and 1960s to target civil rights activists.

The terms they used for blacks was disgusting, and things they said should happen to them even worse. There is nothing wrong with memorials being in areas where the civil war was fought. That is where the history was made, and with or without them the history will not change. You want to blame the Gov,? A months-long investigation into the photo that appeared in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook could not “conclusively” determine who is in the photo or even how the image came to be there. There still isn’t proof that it was him, but there are enough people that take that to be a fact. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? If he was republican, I’m sure you would think he was innocent.

Who is denying that part of that history happened? They are stating that it is not something to be proud of. To have a state of an armed confederate, a symbol of racism in front of the courthouse, a symbol of justice for all, is real stupidity.

Your term “Northern Aggression” has been used to indicate the Union side as the belligerent party in the war. I would think that you still support the ideas of the south.

Rocket

I mean the governor actually said it was him in the photo and apologized. Then he walked back his statements. That is why people take his yearbook photo as fact. Had it really not been him I am sure he would stated that from the get go. He went from I am sorry, to, well maybe it’s not me, to let’s sweep that under the rug over here.

amerigirl

Rocket, the governor assumed that they were being honest. He also said he didn’t remember that ever happening. He paid people to and figure out if it was him in the picture, let’s not sweep that under the rug either. It was college, did you never drink in college? Do you remember every event from then? Did you ever do anything stupid you regretted later? You should not slander someone unless it is proven.

Rocket

@Amerigirl. I gave you simple to the point factual information and the best you could do was demonstrate how the governor attempted damage control and questioned my character. I think my point has been made. I am done here.

amerigirl

Rocket, your point is bias. deal with it.

ace10

Somebody doesn't know what "slander" is.

amerigirl

ace, if you didn't know the meaning of slander you should have looked it up. But since I feel sorry for you not knowing here it is. the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation You should have been able to understand that just from how it was used in the sentence.

ace10

That's incredible. You can copy a word's definition, and yet you still can't ***understand*** what it means. SMH.

Jeff Mach

There should still be some sort of remembrance for the Loudounders who lost their lives in the Civil War somewhere on the courthouse ground, like there is for the other conflicts.

Don't care if it's out of the way, don't care if it's not a statue, but we shouldn't forget them. It's all about contextualization. It can be done while also recognizing the plight of the victims of slavery.

Germany did it with monuments to their dead WW2 soldiers and victims of the holocaust. Pretty sure we can figure this one out too.

amerigirl

But this statue only honors the confederate soldiers that fought, not the union soldiers. About 1/3 of Loudouners did not want to succeed. There were quite a few battles in Loudoun, but only 1 side is being honored and they were traitors to the USA and promoted slavery.

At one point in time they were going to make some type of path at the courthouse with memorials to loudoun soldiers. I don't know what happened to that.

KK153

Maybe replace it with a statue of the great emancipator, A. Lincoln?

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

A. Lincoln

riverman

Let's leave the monuments alone and remove the idiots in Richmond that are always trying to rewrite istory to suit there own imaginatiins. The governor would be an excellent place to start before the rest of the state recommends giving Loudoun and the rest of Northern Virginia to DC just to get rid of the impediment the northern counties hae become to the rest of the state.

amerigirl

White? How does a statue rewrite history? Do you understand that once something has happened it is history regardless of any memorials. He is there because the majority voted him in, regardless of how you feel, that's how it works. Saying anything could be given to DC is insane and impossible. The upper counties are a support system for the rest of the state. They depend heavily on our tax revenue. I wish the NOVA would become it's own state and control it's own money. How do you think NOVA is an impediment?

KK153

the upper counties are the support system for the rest of the state....

Get rid of all the federal jobs or companies that live off the federal teat and let's see how well that support system holds up.

if someone steals 5 bucks from you and then gives you back 2 they are not a support system.

downtownres

If you really want to start correcting monuments that represent repression and prejudices, you should go back quite a way in history. How about all of the power symbols the Free Masons have erected to show their white male supremacist control, called an Obelisk along with there other symbols... Yep, the ones who started the demise of female rights, along with countless other prejudices.

IanXDm

Removing statues does nothing to change history. Remembering history is the greatest chance of growing from previous mistakes. People really need to take responsibility for themselves and stop blaming inanimate objects... like statues, monuments, or guns.

downtownres

Correct!!

amerigirl

Then they should get rid of offensive displays. Then there would be no inanimate objects to blame.

tolerantleft

define "offensive"

tolerantleft

LTM, how much longer will you stay in business?

amerigirl

As long as people like you read it.

Chris McHale

Let me know when we can check the box using private funds and not tax payer money for these projects.

KK153

let me know when I can check the box that says we can't use tax payer funds to support illegals

amerigirl

[offtopic]A 2017 study by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy showed that undocumented immigrants contributed significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $11.74 billion a year in state and federal income taxes, state and local sales taxes and property taxes. But guess what, are not eligible for any federal public benefits. A few states offer Treatment for emergency conditions (other than those related to an organ transplant), Short-term, in-kind emergency disaster relief, Immunization against immunizable diseases and testing for and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases. Most f those benefits are for our protection.

Penguin

Let’s put a transgender rainbow colored unicorn there in its place. That way no one is offended.

RoundHillGuy

Penguin, You have to run that by MATRU first. Mother against transgendered rainbow unicorns. We want to make sure no one is triggered. Maybe we can leave the base of the statue and place nothing on top and tell everyone its a secular, genderless, political party neutral, race neutral, non binary, non offensive, "statue" and see how many woke people come to see "it" .

downtownres

Also Correct!!

amerigirl

or leave it empty like the rest of the walkway.

RandomName2019

Yes, because those two are equatable.Regardless of your snide attempts at sarcasm, a transgender rainbow colored unicorn would be at least be a symbol of inclusivity and welcoming, while the current statue is a reminder that a number of individuals in our country believed that owning other people (as long as they're inferior black people) was acceptable and worth going to war over.

downtownres

Refer to IanXDm above!

bboop

The current statue is actually a memorial to Loudoun sons who fought & died in the Civil War. Nothing else matters..your version or my version. Families from generations back still live here who don't seem to count at all in this obsessive attempt to remove statues related to the Civil War. Liberals are hellbent on doing this regardless of what matters to others who care about it. These are issues that lead to changes in government. This great photo is beautiful in front of the courthouse..it's stood proudly there for a century. Live & let live.

amerigirl

Bboop, If you believe that the statue is a memorial then shouldn’t it be in a cemetery and not in front of the courthouse? The courthouse is a symbol of justice and a confederate soldier is a symbol of those who suppressed blacks. Leesburg was very divided during the civil war so it only represents part of the people’s views. Lovettsville and Waterford areas vote heavily against secession. The votes in Loudoun were l,626 to 726 to ratify secession. That means about 1/3 of the population was against it. Do those families not matter? Then again not everyone, especially blacks, did not have a vote. You can feel comfortable sang it is just a memorial if you are white, but it is an intimidation to blacks.

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