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Letter to the editor - Confederate memorial should be removed


August 17, 2017


Montana has a Confederate memorial? In Helena?

I was astounded to discover this. I’ve lived in Montana for 11 years now, but I’m not native to the state. So I did a little research. Maybe Montana played some part in the Civil War that I didn’t know about.

Nope. Montana wasn’t even a territory until May of 1864. The Confederacy surrendered in April of 1865. Confederates never got close to Montana. Even if Montana had been a state at that point, it would have been located firmly in the Union.

Well, whatever. It’s not hurting anything, right?

Wrong. As the events of the last couple of weeks have shown us, the Confederacy in general, and Confederate statues and memorials specifically, have become a symbol and siren-call to white nationalists, the KKK, Nazis, and white frat-boys who just love racial purity. These are not attitudes that belong in our beautiful state.

More broadly, I take the same view of Confederate statues all over our country. I’m willing to give a bit on memorials to lost soldiers. The Civil War was a war with families on both sides. That being said, the Confederates were traitors. States’ rights could be argued as a noble cause, until you recognize that the ownership of another human being was the right at stake.

The Civil War should not be forgotten. It is an important part of history. However, neither should the atrocities of the past be glorified. Slavery is a monstrous heritage that should not be honored.

I can’t do anything about the statues throughout the country, but I live here. The effort to remove the memorial in Helena should be supported by everyone. There is no history honored by it, and the unity to be brought by removing it is something sorely lacking in our country today.

Will Lorett



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