Recent events have raised questions about the preservation of Civil War sites and monuments on National Park battlefields. As some of my Emerging Civil War colleagues and I discussed these potential threats, we decided it was important to say something. For various reasons, not everyone is able to join in the discussion, but I volunteered to speak on their behalf:
We urge the protection and preservation of all monuments on our National Park Service managed battlefields. We believe all Civil War battlefields are sacred ground, many of which feature commemorative monuments erected by veterans of these battles. Today, monuments serve as interpretive tools and tangible links to the story that we as public historians work to tell visitors to these hallowed grounds. Monuments help tell a broader history of these fields while imparting the power of place to those that visit. We call on Congress and Federal leaders to maintain the legislation that currently exists to protect these monuments as historic artifacts. The American Civil War still resonates today, and although it can be divisive, we believe telling a complete story is paramount to not only understanding our nation but assisting us in building a better future.
We respect and appreciate all viewpoints and always support educated and respectful dialogue.