According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of a monument is a statue, building or other structure erected to commemorate a notable person or event. Monuments commemorating the Confederate States of America have been a major point of discussion and protest between citizens of the United States as well as the media.
Over 150 years after the end of the American Civil War, signs of the confederacy can still be seen. For example, the flag of Mississippi includes the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag, now commonly known as the confederate flag. The confederate flag flew over the South Carolina state capitol until 2015. Many cemeteries in America include monuments to fallen confederate soldiers and generals, amongst these is the McGavock Confederate Cemetery located in Franklin, Tennessee. This cemetery holds nearly 1,500 confederate soldiers.
As organizations clash on the topic of confederate monuments in America, it is important to look back. The United States is not the only nation that has faced this problem, in fact many have, and each nation handles the problem differently.
The first country that comes to mind is Germany. After World War II, Germany faced the question of what to do with the monuments to Adolf Hitler and Nazisim. According to McClatchy DC Bureau, anything related to Nazis was destroyed while defeated cities still burned. They also stated that Nazi generals were buried in unmarked graves. Even major historical locations, like the bunker where Adolf Hitler committed suicide, sits below a regular parking lot marked only by a small sign. Germany decided to eradicate most signs that the Nazis even existed.
Other countries, like Romania and Spain, have followed Germany’s footsteps and have taken down monuments commemorating former dictators. Still, countries like Japan share similarities with the United States and embrace the flags of the past.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force both fly versions of the Rising Sun Flag. This flag was used until Japan’s surrender in World War II and is associated with Japanese Imperialism and Japan’s involvement in the war.
The United States must find a middle ground, history should not be deleted but there is no reason for the United States Government to embrace the Confederacy and the ideals that they stood for. If Confederate monument continue to exist, they must be privately owned and not maintained by taxpayers and the government. History should never be ignored, but it doesn’t have to be embraced.