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WND Laments Takedown Of Another Confederate Monument

WorldNetDaily columnists had freakouts over the removal of a Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery, insisting that it was a "reconciliation memorial" while ignoring what's actually on the monument.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/28/2024

WorldNetDaily has a bit of a thing for the Confederacy, so it was a big deal at the website that Confederate monuments continue to be taken down. The leader of the latest wave of Confederate nostalgia has been columnist James Zumwalt, who spent a lot of time fretting over the impending removal of a Confederate monument in Arlington National Cemetery. He huffed in a March 29 column:
With wokeism protesting any memorialization of those who fought for the Confederacy during our American Civil War, a magnificent memorial in Arlington National Cemetery is, like the Buddhas of Bamiyan, being slated for demolition. More than a century old, the 32-foot-high Confederate Memorial was enthusiastically promoted by an earlier Congress, three U.S. presidents and veterans on both sides after the conflict. It was specifically embraced to symbolize a unified America in the aftermath of the War Between the States.

The Confederate Memorial was actually the brainchild of Union veteran and U.S. President William McKinley; it was President William Howard Taft who spoke at the laying of its cornerstone; and it was President Woodrow Wilson who spoke at its 1914 dedication, alongside both Union and Confederate veterans. Almost half a century after a war that had so divided America, claiming 750,000 lives and the maiming of over a million more, this memorial recognized a nation's reconciliation and reunification.

Designed and constructed by Confederate veteran and internationally renowned Jewish sculptor Moses Ezekiel, he, along with three other Southerners, lie buried at the monument's base, thus serving as their headstone. It is a grave marker also for 462 other Confederates whose graves are arranged in concentric circles around it. Such a burial arrangement is an integral part of the memorial, exactly as Congress, three presidents and veterans from both sides intended.

Those today planning the memorial's destruction lack any appreciation for the emotions at play in 1914 or for the artistic value it offers. Hypocritically, woke activists, demanding those who fought for the South more than seven generations earlier be banned to the dustbin of history for failing to grasp 21st century values, fail to grasp the emotional needs existing in 1914 to honor all who served to help reunify a divided nation. They are committed to the memorial's destruction at a cost of over $100 million.

In fact, the cemetery's own website states that "The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery," and that the only two African-American figures are stereotypical -- a "mammy"-type figure and an enslaved man following his owner to war. Zumwalt's evidence that the removal would cost "over $100 million" was a tweet by a pro-monument group that said nothing about cost.

As the removal date drew near, Zumwalt spent his Dec. 8 column lashing out at Sen. Elizabeth Warren for supporting the removal and other signs of needlessly honoring the Confederacy:

Unless a federal judge takes the appropriate action, on De. 18 the demolition of the 109-year-old Confederate Reconciliation Memorial located at Arlington National Cemetery will begin.

The word "reconciliation" was included in the memorial as it was the intention of our 25th U.S. president, William McKinley, and his peers who had fought on the side of the Union to demonstrate the post-Civil War healing of war wounds with those who had fought for the Confederacy. The country had suffered an ideological split during that conflict but, like a bad marriage in which the parties separated only to realize later they needed each other and returned to their union, the memorial was commissioned as a testimonial to the reconciliation of North and South.

As has been reported, the destruction of the memorial, "will desecrate the graves of almost 500 Confederate soldiers and family surrounding the memorial in concentric circles who, by 1901 law, are American soldiers entitled to the same respect and dignity as any American soldier who has ever lived." In the mind of Sen. Warren, honoring those who fought for the South is insensitive as they should eternally be condemned for having honored the institution of slavery. This is contrary to the sentiment of McKinley who observed, "Every soldier's grave made during our unfortunate civil war is a tribute to American valor."

As the cemetery's website also suggested, the word "reconciliation" in the memorial's name is meaningless because it was not accompanied by the granting of civil rights to black people. Zumwalt then tried to engage in a little Civil War revisionism:

Warren and Austin ride their high horses trumpeting slavery as the main focus of the war, but such trumpeting demonstrates a lack of understanding about history and about what caused those on both sides to fight. At war's end 17 senior commanders – nine from the North and eight from the South – gave farewell addresses to those who had served under them. Those addresses were assembled in "The Last Words" – a book authored by historian Michael R. Bradley – a work that clearly destroys slavery as the "single cause myth." While the moral issue of slavery has long been given as a common explanation for why the American Civil War was fought, it was the economics of slavery, along with political control of that system and states' rights, that were mainly responsible.

Actually, several Confederate states specifically cited slavery as a reason for leaving the Union in their secession statements. Still, Zumwalt huffed that "Warren will never understand the bond of respect, despite the ideological differences, that existed between North and South."

Zumwalt used his Dec. 20 column to dishonestly liken the removal of the Confederate memorial to the Taliban's destruction of centuries-old Buddha statues carved into a rock face in Afghanistan's Bamilan Valley:

Twenty-two years after the Bamiyan Massacre by the Taliban, the U.S. is on the verge of committing its own massacre that will eradicate an important part of our history. In fact, had it not been for a last-minute restraining order issued by a federal judge, that massacre would now have been completed.

The architect of this massacre is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who proclaimed during her failed presidential campaign she supported removing all Confederate symbols from federal land if she were elected. Fortunately, she had to drop out of her campaign, but that did not deter her from seeking the eradication of any honors bestowed upon Confederate veterans that were memorialized upon federal lands. She sponsored legislation in 2020 to this end, which was later passed with the help of 41 Republican House members who apparently were more concerned about elections than our history.

Zumwalt then tried an appeal related to the sculptor:

Interestingly, the architect the war victors engaged to design the memorial was noted sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel – a Confederate veteran and the first Jewish graduate of Virginia Military Institute. One would think there should currently be some sensitivity to the appropriateness of removing this historic memorial by a respected Jewish architect due to the astonishing wave of antisemitism triggered by the Gaza war. Of course, this appears to be of no concern to Warren as she recently criticized Facebook for censoring pro-Hamas posts.

In fact, Ezekiel's descendants have endorsed the removal of the sculpture, pointing out that it's "a relic of a racist past," and that it should be put in a museum "that makes clear its oppressive history.” Nevertheless, Zumwalt continued to smear Warren as Taliban-like for wanting to address oppressive history:

Warren and the Taliban obviously drink from similar glasses of ideological extremism. The Taliban's contains an elixir of religious zeal that blinds them from accepting any culture and religion other than their own. Meanwhile, Warren's contains an elixir of progressivism, blinding her to the destructive impact she will have on our history. Sadly, she denies veterans who served on both sides during our Civil War the memorialization in history they sought in honor of America's reunification in the aftermath of that divisive conflict.
More columnists fret

Carole Hornsby Haynes made her contribution to WND's continued veneration of the Confederacy with a Sept. 6 column complaining that a Confederate memorial inside Arlington National Cemetery will be removed:

In the midst of a national racial and political upheaval, Republicans cut a deal for the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that created a Naming Commission to "remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America ... or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense." As a part of that provision, Arlington National Cemetery has been ordered to remove the 109-year-old Confederate Memorial, conceived and built with the sole purpose of healing the wounds of the Civil War and restoring national harmony.

Again, the cemetery's own website states that "The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery," adding of the figures that are part of the monument:

Two of these figures are portrayed as African American: an enslaved woman depicted as a “Mammy,” holding the infant child of a white officer, and an enslaved man following his owner to war. An inscription of the Latin phrase “Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Caton” (“The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause to Cato”) construes the South’s secession as a noble “Lost Cause.” This narrative of the Lost Cause, which romanticized the pre-Civil War South and denied the horrors of slavery, fueled white backlash against Reconstruction and the rights that the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments (1865-1870) had granted to African Americans. The image of the faithful slave, embodied in the two figures on the memorial, appeared widely in American popular culture during the 1910s through 1930s, perhaps most famously in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind.”

Haynes went on a tirade about the "Radical Republicans of the 1800s," suggesting that they were to blame for provoking the Civil War by increasing tariffs that allegedly "resulted in an enormous transfer of wealth from the South to the North, decade after decade." She then went into full Confederacy-defending mode:

The present-day vilification of the Confederacy is part of a long-term ideological war being waged against the conservative South for the purpose of destroying Southerners as a people and rendering them socially, politically and economically impotent. These secular humanist propagandists, in their zeal to demonize the Christian South, have made the word "slavery" synonymous with "guilt" and "the white South."


President William McKinley, Union soldier-turned-president, proposed the concept of the site at Arlington for the graves and memorial to honor those Americans against whom he had once fought. He understood what today's monument smashers do not seem to get: that Confederate soldiers were not fighting to preserve slavery. In 1860 only 5% of Southern whites owned slaves, and less than 25% benefited economically from slavery. Yet 258,000 Confederate soldiers, few of whom owned slaves, died in the war. The Confederate soldier who wrote the inscription for the Confederate Memorial understood it well and so do most veterans who have fought in America's wars.
Actually, the Civil War really was about slavery, no matter how much Haynes tries to deny it.

Haynes concluded by declaring that "It's up to the American people, the majority of whom do not want the Confederate Monument removed, to stop the cultural cleansing of our nation." She offered no evidence that a "majority" of Americans do not want the monument removed, nor did she explain why removal of monuments to losing, traitorous causes amounted to "cultural cleansing."

Jim Darlington attempted a little Civil War revisionism in a Dec. 19 column:

Amazing! Now we are waiting to see if reason prevails or will the autocrats of our "Rich Men North of Richmond" drive the final nail into the coffin of both national and racial unity? Thankfully a stay of execution has been granted by a Trump appointed judge for the planned destruction of the Reconciliation Monument crafted by the Jewish sculptor Moses Ezekiel – a great monument meant to celebrate America's national reunification after the War Between the States and honoring those who fought and died on both sides. Why would the government desecrate Arlington National Cemetery and do such violence to our history?

Those advocating for such destruction claim that they only to want an end to racism, and to honor the South is to affirm racist values.

But was the Civil War fought over the question of slavery? As a "Yankee" who moved to Alabama, I've had to try and consider the contrary points of view. I think that for the Northerners, it's true enough. Many were willing to fight against the thoroughly demonized Southern slavers. Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had flown off the shelves, sure enough. But I wonder if it holds true of the Southerners, that preserving slavery was enough for them to fight and die for?


Was the continuation of slavery a matter of pride for all Southerners? Maybe not. Less than 5% of them actually held slaves, and the keeping of those slaves very negatively affected the wages of the rest of Southern workers. Did Southerners see the condition of slaves, who, at least from their perspective, were fed and housed, as necessarily worse than the conditions of similar numbers of factory workers up North, who were paid less than it cost to live decently, were often under-fed and forced to live in violent and dangerous slums (sort of like the slaves' descendants do now)?

Again, we remind Darlington that several Confederate states specifically cited slavery as a reason for leaving the Union in their secession statements, meaning that, yes, the Civil War was largely -- if not entirely -- about slavery. Darlington concluded by ranting that the removal of the monument was the work of a "usurping regime,"' whatever that means:

In the end, the continuation of slavery benefited a small wealthy minority of Southerners, but a fear of the possible consequences, of its discontinuation, permeated the society as a whole.

In the end, the emancipation of the slaves was something the North celebrated and the South came, sometimes grudgingly, sometimes gladly, to accept. But the wish to become, again, the United States of America became universal.

The intended removal of the Reconciliation Monument is an assault on our unity as a nation, and yet one more declaration by the present usurping regime in Washington of the intention to divide and destroy us.

Actually, it's the monument itself that is a symbol of division and destruction, not its removal.

A Dec. 21 column by Mike Pottage invoked the monument's removal -- but didn't use the word "Confederate" to describe it -- in ranting about Democrats:

The Democratic Party has a history of calling off elections and seizing control of government. It did so in 1861 as 11 states went off on their own, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The confrontation is called "the Civil War." Then, Democrats were all about "states' rights." Today, Democrats prefer the term "insurrection." What is important for people to note is the fact it was the Democratic Party then, and today it is the same Democratic Party, running away from constitutional order and plunging the nation into chaos.

Setting aside the obvious voter disenfranchisement in Colorado, Democrats of the mid-1800s were fixated on race. Nothing much has changed.

The most important aspect of the post-Civil War era was "reconciliation." And today's Democrats are roaming about Arlington National Cemetery at this very moment overseeing the removal of the "Reconciliation" monument, a symbol of one nation reunited. Why destroy unity in favor of disunity?

If enough voters figure this out, the Democratic Party will find itself on a pathway to suicide. Democrat voters ultimately may choose the nation over the party.

Both Darlington and Pottage made a point of calling the monument a "reunification" monument when it really wasn't: The cemetery's own website states that "The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery," and that the only two African-American figures are stereotypical -- a "mammy"-type figure and an enslaved man following his owner to war. It was also pointed out that the monument carries an inscription of the Latin phrase "Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Caton" ("The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause to Cato") that "construes the South’s secession as a noble 'Lost Cause.'" That doesn't sound very reconciliatory.

WND also ran a couple outside articles on the monument's removal and a brief injunction against it.

A few days after the last of all this complaining, the bronze section of the monument was removed from its pedestal and his currently in storage as its ultimate fate is decided. The granite base will remain in place to avoid disturbing graves. There is still no evidence that the removal cost the $100 million Zumwalt claimed it would.

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