Clyde: A few more words about the Confederate Monument
Clyde, formerly Clyde Overcash
Thanks to the Post for a common sense and belated editorial and to the heartfelt, three-minute, soul-touching tributes at City Council, the monument is safe again – for now.
I fear we need to apologize to the ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy for ever doubting their reasoning for erecting “our” monument five score and six years ago. It has become the endearing identity of our town, not unlike the clock and the bell tower, which should also not be moved or torn down. What would these fine ladies have said today about the need for a monument and what would its plaque say? Could we raise the money together? Do we know dead husbands and sons? At the end of the Civil War, June 1865, the census listed only 302 males left in town. How proud we should be of their service, not ashamed to walk by it daily.
What an insult it would be today to the artist who created such a magnificent bronze group with his own hands for the citizenry and for the ages. At the dedication, May 10, 1909, Mr. Rucksthul simply stood and nodded. He had done his work and we are the fortunate ones who can see it everyday. What have we done positive with our predicament and our hands and voices?
If the protestors today can look into the face of an angel and see racism or slavery, then we have all failed. It is not Hitler, Stalin or oppression but one of God’s messengers – coming to lift you from your misfortunes, woes, trials, day-to-day worries as we come and go. Some don’t see and others refuse to look. What a fitting site for it in our midst. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Then, hate is in the heart of the protestor.
The city has sculptures nowadays that they pay for that are not worthwhile, and could be offensive to some if we knew what they meant. Should we remove them? We have three handsome tributes to the Union dead in the National Cemetery. Do we know their stories? Do we eventually get rid of all markers and all tombstones? Does any flag offend you? A white flag; throwing up a red flag, African flags or hats, rebel flags on shirts, are we forever banned for our children playing Steal the Flag? It is a symbol, people, not a cymbal you beat on incessantly. And we as Americans are free to wave any flag for any cause we choose. We have fought that fight for and won freedom of speech and freedom of expression. We have newspapers, thank you. We hold these truths to be self evident.
Gloria Victus does not belong to the city officials and they only have an opinion and should stand in line to speak for three minutes, not to decide by a vote. If you don’t like it, look away. Look at the Carolina Blue Sky behind it. Look at yourself in a mirror. Are you teaching hatred or good citizenship to your next generation? Are you involved in doing a good deed, volunteering, helping others with their predicament lifting them up?
If we hang underwear in our store window and anyone is offended, is it art? Too bad, get over it, but don’t move it, steal, damage, change or destroy it or take it away.
We need to read about our history, talk and listen about slavery like articles in the Post and please God send rain to end this hot spell and calm down the heated discussions around town. Help us to see the difference between the words “insight” and “incite.”
“Fame has given you an imperishable crown, history will record your daring valor, noble suffering and matchless achievements to the honor and glory of our Land.”
Timeless words, well chosen. Amen.
The artist Clyde, formerly known as Clyde Overcash, is a resident of Salisbury.