Confederate Monuments Emails

In this May 17, 2017, file photo, workers in protective gear attach straps to the statue of Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard as it is prepared for removal from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. State Rep. Patricia Smith, a black Baton Rouge Democrat, received 105 emails alone, almost all favoring a proposal by her Republican colleague Thomas Carmody that would have erected obstacles to tearing down such monuments.

AP Photo by Scott Threlkeld

Regarding replacements for the recently removed New Orleans monuments, I have suggestions.

For the City Park site of General Beauregard's statue, commission a larger-than-life statue of two Civil War era soldiers, one a Unionist and one a Confederate, each bearing the flag of their country over their shoulders. They should be portrayed in the act of shaking hands or, more poignantly, one should be wounded while the other is helping him to walk, with arms around each other's waists. A plaque at the statue's base should quote the last paragraph of President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, recognized by unbiased historians as his proposed approach to the restoration of the Union, in which the Southern Confederacy was to be treated with benevolence and respect:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

For Lee Circle, no fountain. It should be renamed "Freedom Circle." Commission a larger-than-life statue of a WWI infantryman, complete with haversack and a bayoneted rifle, to replace General Lee. The plaque should reflect our appreciation for all of the Louisiana military personnel who lost their lives protecting our freedoms by fighting in foreign wars. Their names should be inscribed on randomly situated granite boulders spread throughout the site, in no particular order. Periodic additions can be made as warranted.

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Five smaller monuments should be erected to memorialize this nation's major military branches — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard— with a brief history of each.

Incidentally, an excellent commentary on how Lincoln's Address is particularly relevant to today's political divisiveness can be found at: www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/03/14580/.

Jeff Steingraber

retired small business owner

New Orleans