It seems fitting that on the Fourth of July, a remembrance of what a statue is should be described, and penned for all the world to see, to read, and remember. The world has recently witnessed the violent and unhinged protestors tearing down statues. Witnessed spineless elected officials taking statues down for every reason but the truth, and we have seen violence when the ignorant mob has been refused. Like spoiled children without a stern parent to correct behavior, the world has watched; but, does the world remember what a statue is?
A statue is made of bronze, stone, iron, usually a combination of all three, intent to remind the passerby of greatness achieved. The mob in all its anger and horrible glory would have Confederate statues pulled down as “symbols of racism.” When in reality, those symbols, were erected to remind us of both the good and the ill found in each human heart. The Confederate Soldier who fought for his home, his friends, his family, and his way of life. The Confederate Soldier fought gallantly, bravely, and the American Union is better, stronger, and more powerful with the reminder than without; thus, in times past a statue was built to remember, lest we forget and must suffer a repeat of history.
The statue of Christopher Columbus so hatefully despised, rudely treated by mob violence and elected official stupidity was erected not as a monument to a man, but to commemorate the birth of an idea and an ideal that became these United States of America, a Free Republic if we can keep it. Christopher Columbus was a man, the same as those in the mob, he had light and dark inside him. Who is his judge, who is his jury pool, who has the power to judge his actions; not I, nor the mob who despises and defaces the likeness of a person who achieved greatness through sacrifice. Thus, through sacrifice, the Great American Experiment was launched. Throughout time immemorial, the current generation has built monuments, statues, to honor the sacrifice that has brought about greatness.
The sad truth of the matter, the mob in its anger deems themselves powerful enough to pull down those sacrifices remembered, to throw away those sacrifices as if they did not matter, and then has the effrontery to suggest they know better than the entire rest of a civilized body. The spineless Dane-Geld paying politician deems themselves not the protector of the honor of those sacrifices remembered, but the arbitrator of the masses and the statue is blamed.
The statue is blamed and then torn down, cast forever from the minds and memory, no longer an artifact to be remembered, to have stories told, and kept alive from generation to generation as a means of learning history. No longer to be a symbol of remembrance for sacrifices that led to greatness. No longer to lift and inspire hearts and minds. But, the media talking heads will say, “Those statues torn down can be erected some other place, out of sight, in an area where the mob cannot choose to become inflamed.” In telling this lie, a single truth was sacrificed, but the ignorance and lie remain, to the shame and the derision of those who know what a statue truly is, and why that statue was needed.
The truth is, the mob chose to become angry, to vent their anger as domestic terrorists, not protestors. The truth is people protest, but when the protest interrupts daily commerce, blocks traffic, starts fires, using the fear of the mob to cause damage and mayhem the people are no longer protestors, but terrorists. Consider some of the first terrorists in American History, many have been called upon by the media and the mob to justify their actions. The Boston Tea Party has been called upon to justify the actions of the mob. However, the Boston Tea Party is but one of the first acts of war that sundered, forever, the hold of the British Empire upon America. Another act of domestic terrorism, the firing upon of Fort Sumter by Confederate ships as the opening salvo of the American Civil War. Consider Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion during the Revolutionary War. Commander Marion led a guerilla war against the British across Carolina.
The difference between these early domestic terrorists and today’s domestic terrorists, is not that they won, but that they sacrificed for the idea, they gave all not for a statue or a holiday, they gave all for something better and hoped their sacrifice would be remembered. Look at the riots in Watts, no statues were erected, the land is blighted, the area almost ungovernable, and nobody remembers the names of those domestic terrorists that started the riots in Watts.
The difference is clear when the statue of General George Washington is looked upon, do you see the first President of America, or do you remember the sacrifice of sitting amongst his men at Valley Forge, having his soul and body scourged by weather alongside how many countless others, but staying the course because he was the leader, and his Army loved him? Do you choose to remember General Washington as the man who could have been King and the death of the American Experiment had he not refused the third presidency; or do you choose to belittle and bemoan because the General had just as many faults as you or I? Would you tear down the memory of his sacrifice, which is wrapped in the sacrifices of the entire American Army from the earliest days of America to date, or will you choose to remember?
Just as the mob chooses to be angry, indifferent, and ignorant, so we must choose at this hour in America. Do we choose to stand, remember, and honor, or do we allow this American Republic to end like Rome before it when faced with a similar threat from domestic terrorists? What is a statue, it is a visible commitment that declares for all the world, “Not on my watch will your sacrifice be forgotten, your heritage besmirched, and your honor be for naught!” Not on my watch will America fall to the byzantines amongst us, who have chosen ignorance and passion over logic and reason! Not on my watch will your statue fall without mourning and a burning desire to see your statue returned to its place of prominence and glory!
A statue is not to remember a single individual, but a moment when people pulled together to achieve greatness, sacrificed personal interest, using character and fortitude to stay until the job was done. Christopher Columbus would have never left Spain with the sailors doing their tasks individually, and together they achieved greatness. The statues of Christopher Columbus are not erected to a man, they were erected to a memory, an event, and a promise of desiring to discover, learn, and grow.
What is a statue; it is a commitment, it is a pledge, it is a solemn vow, it is a means of remembering. A statue is not the property of the government, it is the hearts of the people displayed. A statue is the reminder of the good that comes from reaching ever upward, for desiring our children to be better today, then we were yesterday, so their children may attain greatness tomorrow. What is a statue; it is a visible reminder of all the good one man, woman, or child can do when they believe in something bigger than they are.
What is a statue; it is America, the individual citizens, promising…
We Will Not Forget!
© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.
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