Historians invited by the major networks to comment on the Confederate memorials that are being torn down have all said that the memorials were not built until well after the Civil War, from around 1890 to 1920. They attributed this to increasing efforts to hold blacks down with Jim Crow laws. I think they are poor historians. If they looked at other memorials for other wars, they would find that the memorials seldom go up right after the war, unless they commemorate a specific battle or event. Except for cemeteries of those killed in the war, memorials to the men usually don’t go up until the veterans start dying off. By and large, living men who are decent and modest don’t want statues of themselves, with exceptions of course.
One example right under Washington’s nose is the World War II memorial on the mall. It was not finished until 2004, about 60 years after the end of the war in 1945. Did Americans hate World War II veterans and only grudgingly build a monument for them after 60 years? No, until recently they had the veterans themselves. They didn’t need a memorial.
Robert E. Lee died in 1870. Stonewall Jackson died during the war, but many Confederate veterans of the war lived well into the 1900s. It’s not surprising that as the men disappeared, their friends and families would think about memorials to remember them after they were gone. The TV historians were chosen not because of their historical expertise, but because of their political viewpoint. They were chosen to condemn Southerners for their race hatred, often being “reformed” Southerners themselves. They have established their credentials to be accepted in the best Democratic Party circles in Washington and New York. As Southerners they have made their careers by pissing on their fathers’ graves.
While I am on the subject of memorials, there is one puzzling thing to me about the World War II Memorial. Why is the Holocaust Memorial so much better? It was built first; it has a building; it is in a more desirable part of Washington. It appears to be part of the National Mall, although apparently it is not legally part of it. Virtually none of the people memorialized in the Holocaust Museum have any link to the United States, except for relatives who came to States during or after the war. Implicit in the Museum is criticism of President Roosevelt and the United States for not getting into the war earlier, and not invading France earlier in order to free the Jews in the death camps. The hatred of America is palpable as you walk through the the Museum. Perhaps it is justified. I think not. I find it remarkable that we have an anti-American memorial on the Capital Mall, a memorial to people with no pre-war connection to the United States, but whom it implies the US callously allowed to die.
If I were a black man, I would ask why dead Jews in Central Europe who did not fight against the Nazis are more important to the United States than African Americans, who only recently got their own museum on the mall. Blacks got an even worse deal than the World War II veterans. But don’t hold your breath for someone to criticize a Jewish memorial the way the Jews have criticized the Confederate memorials.