Remove Not The Ancient Landmarks

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How have we progressed, racially speaking, if we engage in acts of violence and destruction? I was just beginning to see signs of real harmony and friendship between the races when this new spirit of turmoil emerges. Makes me think back two years or so to the destruction of thousand-year-old statues and other works of art in Syria – or to the destruction by Chairman Mao (Vietnam War era) of the ancient Buddhist sites in China. Travesties all.

Can anyone imagine that Chattanooga will be a better place when it boots Confederate cemeteries from its care-list? Or rips the bust of a Confederate general from its pedestal at the Courthouse?  I do not even know the name of that general – or care very much. I see that statue (and most other statues) somewhat like furniture in a house: it simply helps me to identify where I am by letting me know that I am in the familiar and friendly precincts of our beautiful old courthouse building. That general – whatever his name - would be terribly missed by many people it he were to be removed.

Similarly, although a Southerner (for nearly 83 years) I take absolutely no offense at that wonderful New York monument which dominates all other monuments in Point Park and can be seen for miles around. People, it is as much a mistake  to destroy the old statuary as to “unthink” or re-write history. That’s what the Bolsheviks and other Revolutionaries have tried to do.

The U.S. should be big enough and old enough to acknowledge our past mistakes and move on without violence. And, although I do not consider myself a scripture-quoter, let me close by using this simple but powerful quote from Proverbs 22:28 (KJV) – “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set”.

Chester Martin


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