This Memorial Day, why don’t we honor the Nazi dead while we’re at it?

by lestro


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? 

That’s embarrassing.


7 Responses to This Memorial Day, why don’t we honor the Nazi dead while we’re at it?

  1. Gary Miller says:

    Why should we honor those we killed to preserve the Union?

    Honor will no longer bind the wounds of brother against brother, son against father or north against south.

    The North will not apologize for burning down Atlanta and Columbia, laying waste from Atlanta to Savannah.

    There was nothing glorious about the Civil War at Cold Harbor, Gettysburg, Shiloh, or the Wilderness.

    The South wanted the war and the war came.

    And to Hell the Union sent them.


  2. Dee says:

    Just a bit of information for you regarding Memorial Day: It began in Columbus, MS at a place called Friendship Cemetery. It was initiated by Southern women who wanted to honor the fallen soldiers and felt it only right to give equal honor to ALL who gave their lives. Both Confederate and Union Soldiers are buried there, side by side, and ALL the graves were – and still are -decorated on Memorial Day.

  3. lestro says:

    funny, then you’d think the South – any one of the states – would have recognized the day before the end of WWI, considering it was first proclaimed in 1868.

    just sayin.

  4. Mr Pomponopolis says:

    Slavery: Evil. Civil War: Shouldn’t have happened.

    However, I don’t think its wrong to honor the dead Confederate vets. Many of them were conscripts, or were fighting for their hometowns. I’m not saying they all were, but I don’t think they should all be shunned.

  5. emily says:

    I was moved by your arguemnts… but I had a few thoughts.

    The South seceded from the Union. Technically, their actions do not meet the criteria set forth in the Constitution, particularly as the South did not fire the first shot. The Union did, in an (skillful and well thought-out) action against Fort Sumter.

    Again, technically, the interest of the Southern states was in their own soverign power. Yes, they were interested in keeping that power to continue enslavement, but the issue was about state’s rights.

    I think that point is made best with Lincoln’s own words in a response he wrote to Horace Greely of the New York Tribune:

    “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. IF THERE BE THOSE WHO WOULD NOT SAVE THE UNION UNLESS THEY COULD AT THE SAME TIME DESTROY SLAVERY, I DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM. MY PARAMOUNT OBJECT IN THIS STRUGGLE IS TO SAVE THE UNION, AS IS NOT EITHER TO SAVE OR TO DESTROY SLAVERY. IF I COULD SAVE THE UNION WITHOUT FREEING ANY SLAVE I WOULD DO IT, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
    I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

    It’s a bit much, but I think it makes the point that the Civil War was NOT fought to end slavery… it was about the tension of state and federal rights. As such, it was a necessary growing pain for our nation… in fact, if it wasn’t for secession and the war, slavery might have continued for even longer.

    I don’t believe that Southern soldiers all fought nobly for state soverignty with nary a hateful racist comment in their minds, but it might not be a terrible thing to honor those who did give their lives and helped this country grow… even if unwittingly.

    And I really feel the need to say that I am not a Confederate flag wearing Southern lovin’ kind of girl. To me, it represents immense ignorance, hatred, and aristocracy. My knee jerk reaction is to pour something on it. But I don’t, because things are just too complicated to do that.

  6. The Southern insurrectionists buried in Arlington National Cemetery were traitors. They did not represent a foreign nation because no foreign nation ever established itself in territory controlled by the United States of America. The Southern states attempted to secede but failed, and so never became a separate country. They were enemies, yes, but not foreign nationals. If they were, then they wouldn’t be guilty of treason. They were domestic enemies of the United States of America, our Constitution, and our armed forces. They don’t deserve burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Dig them up and put them somewhere else.

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