There is a transcript of a wonderful speech; by Ronald F. Maxwell, (h/t Bill Kaufmann at FPR); on Sunday, June 7, 2009, at the annual commemoration of the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery. It is a response to the letter signed by 48 “academics” calling on President Obama to refrain from the tradition of placing a wreath on the monument to the Confederate war dead in Arlington National Cemetery.
Obama, to his great credit, choose to ignore their bleating, and place the wreath.
Much has been said in the mainstream media about the situation, but nothing has been said as eloquently as Maxwell. It is a long read, but one well worth the time. It is shameful to see academics, who supposedly cherish “learning”, to reduce themselves to thought police in the tradition of the greatest totalitarian societies of our time. What have we become as a nation if we cannot examine our past in open and honest light, accepting our faults and celebrating our triumphs? The role of academia is not to revise history according to some “utopian” vision, but to examine it for what it was in all its imperfection, and humanity.
In the words of Maxwell.
“Unless we’re prepared to tear down every statue and monument in America we must instead take stock. What are these statues? Who cared so much to place them in the village green, the town square or the local cemetery? Instead of behaving like censorious cultural commissars or inquisitorial accusers, can we not instead meditate on their meaning for our country and in our own lives? Can they not be seen as invitations of rediscovery, of sacred places set aside in the quiet corners of our lives, for communion with our ancestors – for a portal to understanding who they were and who we are?”
Bill Ayers’ and totalitarian thought police would prefer we stop thinking, and questioning, and just accept the propaganda they are pushing as truth. Disgusting. That is not what this country was founded upon. No wonder they would like us to stop remembering our past.