I recently had a phone conversation with a good friend—a lady in her mid-70s—who lives in Fairfax County, Virginia. She’s perhaps typical of older white Southerners, whose grandfathers served under Gen. Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia. My friend said that although she deplored the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted from the “Unite the Right” rally of August 11-12, 2017, she agreed with the rally organizers that the City Council’s order to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Lee Park was a mistake. “You can’t rewrite history!” my friend emphatically insisted over and over again, during our long discussion about removal of this and other Confederate statues—including that of a Confederate soldier in Ellwood Park, Amarillo, Texas, where I grew up.
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