This Memorial Day, why don’t we honor the Nazi dead while we’re at it?
May 24, 2009 7 Comments
UPDATED! SEE BELOW!
There’s a column in Sunday’s Washington Post about something I am afraid to admit I did not know existed.
Apparently, somewhere in Arlington National Cemetery, there is a monument honoring the dead of the Confederate States of America. The monument was dedicated in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson and according to the article, presidents have since honored the Confederacy’s dead along with those of the United States by sending a wreath on Memorial Day.
The question in the column is whether President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, will and should continue the tradition honoring a nation whose very founding was based on keeping blacks as subservient slaves.
Although it is tough to tell exactly where the author stands on the main issue of honoring Confederates, he expects the president to send a wreath because it is tradition:
Many of my colleagues in academia are urging President Obama to pull the plug on this tradition. I doubt that he will, for the simple reason that the men buried around the Confederate memorial sacrificed, suffered and died just as the black and white soldiers of the Union did. Most of the descendants of those Confederates, whatever their political stripe today, would be loath to deny their ancestors a simple gesture of recognition.
The author goes on to say that the president should send a wreath to the memorial as well as one to the African American Civil War Memorial as a sort of reconciliation.
But I disagree. The president should under no circumstances feel pressure to honor the dead of the enemies of the United States on the holiday designed to honor those who gave their lives for this great nation.
It is also important to note that this is NOT a tradition that goes all the way back. According to the Arlington Cemetery Web site, (warning: music will play when the page opens. the player is all the way at the bottom of the page) the first President Bush ended said tradition in 1990 and it was not re-instated until the second President Bush started sending wreaths again.
Therefore, President Obama should feel no pressure in having to honor these traitors. It is shameful that President Bush restarted this tradition in the first place.
Yeah, I said it: traitors. These were enemies of the United State of America. Period. They fought to destroy the very Union that those we are remembering fought to save. Here is what the US Constitution has to say about treason:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
Why are we honoring those who embody the very definition of treason?
These were not Americans. They were Confederates and we should not honor them on our holiday any more than we should honor the Nazis or the British should honor our dead from the Revolutionary War.
It is time to stop coddling the South. And if a black president isn’t enough to remind them of their failed attempt to destroy the United States (they weren’t the first and certainly aren’t the last), perhaps again refusing to honor their traitorous relatives will.
And yes, I said Nazis. They too were enemies of the United States and I don’t see us sending a wreath for their dead. Except for Reagan, of course.
Some argue that we cannot honor the soldiers of every cause, that we have to draw a line somewhere. Many agree that Ronald Reagan stepped over that line when he visited Bitburg in 1985 and laid a wreath at a German military cemetery near the graves of Nazi SS soldiers.
The columnist and I, obviously disagree on this next point, but I’ll include it for the sake of fairness:
But the Confederacy and the Third Reich are not, in the end, comparable. The Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews (implemented largely by the SS) was a crime unique to the Third Reich, while the crime of slavery was interwoven not only into the Confederacy but into the fabric of the American nation, into the Constitution, our economic system and wars of territorial expansion across the continent. To single out the ordinary soldiers of the Confederacy as beyond the moral pale does not help us come to grips with slavery’s more profound role in American history.
Fuck them. The Confederates were dedicated to destroying the United States of America in favor of their racist regime, just like the Nazis. To honor enemies of the United States alongside those who fought FOR this nation belittles the service of those who died in the US Military.
I don’t care where they are from, enemies of the United States should not be honored on Memorial Day. And President Obama should not feel obligated to place a wreath at the graves of those who fought to keep in slavery people who look like him.
To truly put the Civil War behind us we must no longer even pay lip service to folks who scream “the South will rise again.” Instead, the South should be ashamed of what they tried to do and we must stop pretending the Confederates were anything except what they themselves said they were: enemies of the United States of America.
Many, many Southerners have fought and/or died in the service of the United States, and those fallen heroes must be honored for their service. But honoring our enemies as if they are our own belittles that service.
Mr. President, please treat this as another misguided and fucked up policy put forth by the Bush Administration and once again end this practice.
The president today continued the tradition of sending a wreath to the Confederate Memorial and “as a compromise” started a new tradition of sending a wreath to the African American Civil War Memorial, honoring the 200,000 blacks who died in service f the United States of America.
This is a travesty on two fronts.
First, as stated above, we should absolutely not honor Confederate soldiers on a day on which we celebrate those who died defending the United States, who died for freedom. It is the very definition of treason and the president should not elevate our enemies on the day who celebrate those who served honorably in United Stated military.
Second, it is a blight on all previous administrations that this is the first time a president has ever honored the the black soldiers who died fighting for this nation in the Civil War.
As a compromise, Obama sent a wreath to the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He is the first president to send a wreath to this memorial that honors the 200,000 African-American soldiers who fought for the Union Army.
“As a compromise”? A compromise? Are you kidding me?
These men died fighting for the United States and this is the FIRST TIME a president has sent a wreath?