Airbrushing The Past…

…because of hurt feelings:

When the government called on them to leave their homes and fight overseas in two world wars, the men of Greenwood answered – black and white alike.

And when they fell in battle they were remembered on two separate lists, divided on racial lines.

Now, 70 years on, that segregated memorial is at the centre of a controversy that has again divided the South Carolina town.

Greenwood’s mayor, Welborn Adams, has said the segregated memorial belongs to an ugly past and should be replaced.

Because that’s how we refuse to repeat the mistakes we made in the past, I suppose. By pretending they never existed…

The memorial is owned by the American Legion post in Greenwood and is on city property. Mr Adams took out a loan to buy new plaques and thought it would be a simple task to replace them.

But days before he to unveil the new plaques, opponents threatened to try to have him arrested if he went ahead with his plan. Mr Adams said he cried in his office when the city’s lawyer told him that opponents were right about the law.

And did his tears cause the law to reverse itself? They didn’t? Gosh!

“Segregation was the accepted social order of that time,” Eric Williams, who spent 32 years as a historian with the US Park Service, told the AP. “If we alter the monument, we alter its historical integrity.”

Awww, Eric, you don’t understand – the past makes your mayor cry! We can’t have that, can we?

Surely people’s feelings should be allowed to trump something as insignificant as history?

5 comments for “Airbrushing The Past…

  1. March 14, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Not sure I’m with you on this one, Julia. Quite possible I’ve missed the point. In general though, if someone fights beside you at war, you don’t segregate them later in the memorial. If they were good enough to fight beside you, they’re good enough to be remembered beside you.

    • ivan
      March 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I think the point is that since the names are all on the same plaque but in separated lists which was how it was done at the time it was built changing it to one list would be trying to say the past didn’t happen that way.

      I have seen memorials on pacific islands that separate the names into islands – should that be changed as well?

      Unfortunately, this applying todays thinking to what happened in the past is very common. We have aging rock stars being hounded because patting a girl’s bottom was acceptable in the 60s and 70s but the feminists have declared it is sexual harassment today and the perps, if they have money, must be prosecuted and compensation paid.

      The past is past and there is nothing that anyone can do that will change that. Trying to do so by changing what was written about it is not changing what actually happened and as they say ‘those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’.

      • March 15, 2015 at 6:33 am

        James, ivan has reinforced my point.

        We might wish that the past was otherwise, and compare it to the present, but seeking to alter it as if it never happened is folly of the worst order.

        Another case in point – pardoning people for crimes that were indeed crimes in the past. It’s nonsense! Recognize that they wouldn’t be crimes today, by all means. But they were rightfully convicted under the law as it stood.

        • Furor Teutonicus
          March 15, 2015 at 8:25 am

          Going by that “rule” no Concentration camp guard, or commander would ever have been prosecuted bacause that was the law at the time, and what they did was not illegal.

          The inmates were “rightfully convicted under the law as it stood.” To quote you very own words.

          • March 16, 2015 at 1:24 am

            Agreed. Complexity doesn’t disappear with ‘rule’, eh.

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