This opinion piece is reprinted with permission of Libby Fisher, a resident of Loveland from 2000-2013. She now lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
I‘m not so naive to believe that I can change anyone’s opinions on social media, but recent events and discourse have me examining my own beliefs, and I feel compelled to share this. Intelligent and respectful dialogue and comments are always welcome.
Some thoughts on Southern heritage
I am proud to be a Southerner. Born in Florida, raised in Kentucky, college in Virginia, lived/worked in Georgia and Tennessee. After 20 years in the Midwest, Charlie and I couldn’t wait to get back to the South when we had the chance.
The Southern heritage I’m proud of is about the food, sense of tradition, music, climate, strong sense of place, beautiful countryside, accents, SEC football, friendly and open people, farm life, manners. There are parts of Southern heritage and history, though, that I’m ashamed of. Slavery, Jim Crow, starting a war that cost 620,000 lives. But that is part of Southern history, no denying that. To sanitize that past would be wrong.
I’m reminded of a trip 35 years ago to Dachau, a former concentration camp, that is a testimony to the holocaust and all its horrors. Dachau doesn’t whitewash a thing. There are images that have stayed with me since. And there is a statue at the entrance saying “Never Forget.” That whole “those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it” thing. And I wholeheartedly agree.
Erasing history is very different than choosing not to honor history. Throughout Germany, there are frank acknowledgements of the horrid specter of the holocaust and atrocities of the Third Reich. But there are NOT statues of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering in public squares. There aren’t public parks named after them.
I’m okay with removing confederate monuments from places of honor, and renaming parks that currently carry “Lee, Jackson, etc.” monikers. Continuing to honor these men is an affront to, I imagine, every black American, and to many white, Native American and Latino folks. And since all our tax dollars pay for the maintenance of these spaces, and they are owned by our “of the people and for the people” government, they have no place in the public arena.
They do NOT belong in a waste heap somewhere, or to be melted down and refashioned. They belong in history museums that frankly portray what the gentlemen depicted were fighting to protect. We need to own that, keep it in front of us, and recognize that is the legacy of the Confederacy. Just not in the middle of downtown.