Last week during the public comments segment of a Zoom meeting with an Army subcommittee advising Arlington National Cemetery about the future of its Confederate (Reconciliation) Memorial designed by Moses Ezekiel, I learned that some other countries are more respectful of their former opponents than is the Army’s Renaming Commission that wants to remove the memorial.

Theron Walker of Charleston, South Carolina provided one moving example about a monument involving Turkish and British Commonwealth soldiers that fought each other during the World War I Gallipoli Campaign. Commonwealth dead that could not be reached by the survivors on their side were buried by the Turks where they now remain in respectfully maintained cemeteries.

In 1985 Australia erected a cenotaph to the dead of both armies now standing on the ANZAC Parade plaza in Canberra. Its words are attributed to Mustafa Kemal who became known as Atatürk during his fifteen years as President of the Turkish Republic from 1923 to 1938. During Gallipoli, he was a Turkish divisional commander. The inscription in Canberra reads:

[To] Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country [Turkey]. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

In contrast to such noble sentiments, the mindless fury of the Army Renaming Commission’s trash-everything-Confederate dogma may someday leave them with such bitter regret that will feel as if someone has dumped burning coals of shame on their heads. It eventually happened to the cultural elite of the 1960s and 70s who ridiculed, or merely failed to appreciate, the returning Vietnam vets.

Philip Leigh

Philip Leigh contributed twenty-four articles to The New York Times Disunion blog, which commemorated the Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is the author of U.S. Grant's Failed Presidency, Southern Reconstruction (2017), Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies (2015), and Trading With the Enemy (2014). Phil has lectured a various Civil War forums, including the 23rd Annual Sarasota Conference of the Civil War Education Association and various Civil War Roundtables. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from Northwestern University.


  • Billy P says:

    “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country [Turkey]. Therefore, rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

    Philip, that is a moving and striking quote. Excellent article and a reminder that in other areas of the world, they are not sabotaged by historical ignorance, woke-ism, or disrespect for the dead. How far we as a nation have fallen from this.

    Words like that said to my ancestors today by our current government leaders would bring me to tears and help restore my faith in what is left of the republic. The example above is how to honor the dead of what was once a foe, now a brother, and close the wounds. Honor salutes honor. That’s what happened at Appomattox, and it should be remembered how both armies conducted themselves. It is well documented that the union soldiers looked upon General Lee in awe and respect, as well as the resolve of the Confederate soldiers who while ragged and worn, still stood proud and ready. I contend that no union soldier would agree with what is being done to the memory of our Confederate ancestors, no more than a Confederate would wantonly dishonor a union soldier’s gravesite for the fun of it. They knew what they all went through during those times, and I believe they at least shared the mutual respect that is only earned on the battlefield.

    But…..the historically ignorant, immoral, godless “United” States today has chosen to trash the memory of our ancestors and (speaking only for myself) any feelings of belonging, or loyalty that I ever had are as good as gone with the wind and ‘I am truly sad that it has reached that point. The way I see it now, we’ve been lied to, tactically subjugated, our ancestors’ blood since 1865 has been shed for nothing, and my home country is occupied by an unworthy empire and has been since 1865. Before Nikki Haley starting this cultural destruction ball rolling, I did not feel this way – I was as patriotic as anyone could be and believed in the country – but today the only US flag I will fly is the Betsy Ross. I hate to admit that, but it is how ‘I feel. And, yes, I know the ball was rolling prior to that, but 2015 provided the political catalyst they needed to insult us, our culture and deride our ancestors like never before.

    They have ripped open the wounds once sealed by honorable men on both sides. The chapter and result were closed, or it should have been.
    If my GG granddad wounded at Gettysburg, a young farmer who fought for NC when asked, isn’t good enough for them, then neither am I. If my 30+ Confederate ancestors, several lying dead on the field or in hospitals from pneumonia in their early 20’s aren’t good enough for them or a source of embarrassment for today’s union, then they don’t need me either. The politicians who refuse to stop this destruction will not get my vote anymore even if it means a lukewarm R gets beaten by a radical, liberal D. No votes for turncoats. Do something or lose your election.

    To remove a monument from a cemetery for our dead… there anything more evil? What next? Dig them up from Arlington? The latter seems impossible, but these days we are being told that men are women, women are men, men can have babies, there are mentally ill, deviants (shall I say demons) dancing provocatively in classrooms for little kids. The country has abandoned God, is off the rails completely and nothing shocks me anymore.

    When they restore the memorials to our heroes, stop the cowardly attacks, and APOLOGIZE to the millions of descendants they have insulted then maybe I’ll reconsider. On second thought, no I will not. Fool me once…that old bit.

    I will honor my one and only savior Jesus Christ who provides peace in an insane world, my ancestors, and my family but unless this country changes course 180 degrees and has a spiritual revival, Lincoln’s glorious union is a lost cause.

    Deo Vindice.

  • Rick says:

    For more than sixty years I have been a supporter of the South. I have read most of the eloquent writers, past and present including Abbeville, expressing the history and sentiment of the Southern people. As a northerner, I have waited for the wonderful people (it is their responsibility) in Dixie to use the vast information these writers have provided to attempt something, anything, that would indicate their willingness to affect a positive action.
    It’s a great asset to be in possession of such history and cultural awareness, but knowledge is only the beginning. Through all of these writings, I have only come across the Kennedy brothers as suggesting any type of solution to “burn ol’ Dixie down,” by proffering their constitutional amendment. It may sound far-fetched, but at least it is a positive attempt to turn-back the destruction of the South. Where are the others? I keep reading (and hearing) about making a stand. Where are the actions to supplement the words. If you are waiting to elect the person to lead you…Well, you know ‘Hell will freeze’ before that happens.
    Now, I am not advocating any type of violence, but there are real options using the law to counteract this aggressive destruction. Where were the people in South Carolina when Nikki decided to unilaterally remove a non-offensive flag from the state capitol? Her action could have been challenged in the courts, despite South Carolina now being overrun by northerners (where were Nikki’s origins?). The same is true elsewhere in the South. Inaction is compliance!
    Use the courts to make your voices heard! Challenge the narrative. Seek a plebiscite for statue removal of any historical memento.
    Now there is a line has been drawn around the monument in Arlington – a deep line well marked, daring anyone to step over it. The past successes of the ‘barbarians at the gate,” has emboldened them and now they go for one of the biggest prizes. They cannot succeed with their plans IF they are challenged. Legally challenged!
    This maybe the final moment of whether the South survives as a cultural entity or dies for lack of doing nothing.
    The destruction in the South is not only in your region. It is throughout the country where any icon of history has been set and declared ‘offensive. Don’t think you are alone in this war, you have support in many in other regions!
    I have just one question for my Southern friends, “If the Rats succeed in removing Arlington, what are you going to do when they blast the side of Stone Mountain?
    The ball, as is said, is in your court. Are you going to play in the game, or cry foul as in the past?

    • Billy P says:

      Well said Rick. Like many others, I’ll be at the state house in a week to represent the SCV and be recognized as an organization as I’ve done many times. I’ve posted and served as honor guard, outnumbered as usual, at the Confederate monument on Memorial Day multiple times. As a reenactor I have reached and spoke to people about history from all over as far as Japan. I have also served as an SCV commander. I agree people need to do everything they can instead of just talk. Lot of work to do, very few doing the work.

      • Rick says:

        Mr. Billy, thank you for your comments on my posting. How great for you to be a descendant of a Confederate soldier and able to do re-enactments! I think those encampments could be the foundation to build a sustainable organization of ‘action’ and as a springboard to further a revival of the Southern will. The work you have evidenced you do, is very important and I applaud your often difficult tasks. At times I am sure you can be discouraged, and if it makes a difference, please know that you have a friend in the north on your side.
        Cheers and God Bless

  • Rick says:

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Jefferson!

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