Good Riddance Of Mayor As Trustee Of The Confederate Cemetery - And Response

Friday, February 23, 2018

After reading the news piece titled, City Files Petition to Turn Confederate Cemetery Over To Sons Of The Confederacy, and prior articles quoting Mayor Berke on the subject of the historic cemetery, it is appropriate for the city to withdraw as trustee. 

The public position statements of the mayor regarding the cemetery demonstrate that he is completely unfit to serve as trustee of this historic place. The Confederate Cemetery and the brave men laid to rest there deserve much better than politically motivated nonsense. 

The cemetery is a resting place for war veterans.  

What is the next war to be offended about, Vietnam veterans? 

So good riddance, mayor, and hopefully the hate filled political rhetoric from City Hall directed toward the brave laid to rest in the cemetery will end with the city’s removal as trustee.  Stop using these war veteran for your political nonsense. 

A trustee that possesses southern historical knowledge would be preferred over politically motivated pandering of the current trustee.  This is a welcome changing of the guard. 

Many Chattanooga families have a family member in the Confederate Cemetery. It is not a badge of shame to have family buried in the cemetery as our mayor has suggested in his comments. The civil war was not as simplistic and linear as the city's latest press release suggests in the "principles."   

The political rhetoric directed toward the brave men buried at the Confederate Cemetery, included references to the dead as racists. 

Mayor Berke stated, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and form. While we honor our dead, we do not honor the principle for which they fought.” 

Painting all confederate soldiers as racist, really? That is a huge race baited paint brush City Hall is using. 

What was the motivation and in the hearts of a Confederate solider?   

Historians and scholars for decades have studied and written about the journals of confederate soldiers. What better source, than the soldiers themselves? 

The majority of Confederate soldiers were never slave owners or rich plantation owners. The majority were not vested in slave ownership. Most southern civil war veterans were poor dirt farmers. The confederate soldiers believed in the power as a state to self-govern as a broader issue. Not my words, the words of historians. 

Scholars report that once the South succeeded from the Union, the motivation of the average confederate solider was patriotism to the South and money to enlist. As their Southern homeland was invaded by a foreign enemy, the number one motivation was patriotism to the South. 

The slave ownership issue was a rich plantation owner’s problem, not one of the common Southerner. The broader fight was state decision making as was agreed in the formation of the Union. 

The mindset of the confederate soldier is not difficult to understand especially when southern farms, business, and lands were being invaded by war criminals called the Union Army. 

There is little discussion about the war crimes committed by the Union Army against the Southern innocents.  The Union Army committed horrific war crimes against southern women and children. Where is the City Hall chatter about this aspect of the Civil War?

Many historians and scholars write of the war crimes of the Union army against civilians, “The Hard Hand of War, sees an evolution in soldiers' thinking as the war progressed. Instead of shedding their initial ideology, as Linderman claims, Grimsley's soldiers became more ideological. Union troops became more willing to inflict 'hard war' on southern civilians.”

The Union Army did in fact inflict hard war on the innocents of the South with mass murder, rape, and theft of property in home raids. 

I tire of ill-informed political babbling from City Hall directed towards the confederate cemetery with omissions of factual and published findings. 

So, withdraw as trustee, and good riddance city of Chattanooga and mayor. These war veterans deserve better. 

For Chattanoogans with family buried in the Cemetery, this should be an opportunity to support this historic confederate cemetery financially.  I plan to donate to the preservation of history. 

Hopefully, the new trustee will provide a public support website. 

April Eidson 

* * *

Mayor, your opinion of white supremacy in the comparison of the Confederate cemetery is appalling and disgraceful to any historian. Much less a citizen of this great country. You are entitled to yo-ur opinion but the blatant disregard to American history is absolutely next to unpardonable. 

How the city of Chattanooga ever elected a official with the poorest aptitude to truth is beyond comprehension.  If you decided you didn’t want the city of Chattanooga taking care of the cemetery and the responsibility of the upkeep is one matter. But to associate the hateful and bigot white supremacy movement to the Confederate soldiers who died is weak, cheap and cowardly. 

What do you expect the results and response to this decision, and not to the decision itself but the written response of said decision to be? Are you appealing to the hateful constituency of political and social division of which you say that you as a person and mayor are against? What makes you different than any white supremacy group or Black Lives Matter or Antifa, or any hateful racist group? 

Mayor, take care of the city and the mayoral duties and leave the history to people who actually know it.

Brian Vann


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