A recent guest opinion piece by Gene Nichol of the University of North Carolina Law School about ‘Silent Sam’ makes accusations—and infers others—against the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). These declarations are malign and wrong.
The SCV is a not-for-profit group which works to preserve the history and respect the memory of soldiers who fought and sacrificed for the South. To do this we have sponsored cemetery preservation work, made contributions to restore historical artifacts at the North Carolina Museum of History and the State Capitol, and we have offered scholarships to students. Many of our members have also joined in historic re-enactments of battles.
We ask our members, while working as volunteers to preserve our history, to respect every American’s rights. As an organization, we do not condone – in fact, we oppose – groups and individuals who do not share our respect for those basic American rights. In fact, specifically, we have opposed “hate groups.”
After protesters tore down Silent Sam, we tried to restore the statue to its original place. But leaders at the University of North Carolina, in part fearing – and wishing to avoid – the threat of future violent protests on campus did not agree. We reached an impasse. And at that point, to preserve an important memorial to soldiers who sacrificed for the South, the SCV agreed it would take the monument and relocate it in a new place.
Over the years, the SCV has counted numerous national leaders as members, including President Harry S. Truman, and the admiration of others, including President Dwight Eisenhower. As an organization we are dedicated to the memory of Confederate veterans who have been recognized as American veterans under laws enacted by the United States Congress (1901, 1906, 1929, and 1958), deserving of full respect and honor.
In poll after poll carried out by respected pollsters, the vast majority of North Carolina citizens — more than two-thirds — support keeping our veterans’ monuments in place. Only a small group of radicals and their ideological supporters in the media favor the removal or destruction of these symbols of our past. This, of course, is only the first step in a campaign to erase all memory of our history they view as ‘politically incorrect.’ Who comes next? George Washington? Thomas Jefferson?
We strongly favor keeping monuments, symbols, and markers of our history in place. Not everyone will agree with everything our ancestors did, but destroying their memorials and monuments, erasing their memory is a step backwards not forward.
Wake Forest, NC
North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans