Dear friends,

The statues placed in our parks, libraries, military posts, and other public areas should represent heroes of our society and notables whom we respect. Certainly members of the Confederacy are not our proud historical leaders, and I firmly agree with removal of these statues. But I do not agree with their destruction. Slavery, the Civil War, and the Confederacy were significant, however shameful, parts of U.S. history.

I strongly believe these sculptures should be preserved in museums as a reminder of our “white nationalism” deviation from the Constitution. Unfortunately, our history books never adequately revealed our checkered past — our cruel treatment of Native Americans, our centuries of racism, and the effects of slavery.

We cannot relive or alter that ugly history, but we can learn from it, and hopefully stop a present-day repeat of this behavior. Our 2020 society does not represent a nation devoted to equal representation for all under the law. One person, one vote is not afforded to all, and strangers are unwelcome in our land as we forget our own backgrounds as descendants of strangers.

I believe being reminded of our past is the way in which we establish a “just” society under the guidance of our Constitution. Without that history, we will surely fall prey to autocracy (like Trump’s leadership) instead of our democracy. Holocaust museums are examples of society gone mad when not curbed by educating people about the past.

Perhaps today’s massive protests will alert our nation of our past mistakes and set us on the correct course to civil rights for all.

Let us use those Confederate statues as reminders of a shameful past, and a hopeful, reformed future.

Harriet Hausman

River Forest

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