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Arlington Confederate Memorial Not Yet a ‘Lost Cause,’ Lawyer Reveals What Happens Next: Report

Arlington Confederate Memorial Not Yet a ‘Lost Cause,’ Lawyer Reveals What Happens Next: Report

Eulogized by late-19th-century Southern revisionists as a noble “Lost Cause,” the Confederacy nowadays receives the opposite treatment.

Meanwhile, those of us who understand secession’s dark origins but nonetheless wish to preserve and even celebrate some Confederate monuments have good reason to feel besieged by the woke intolerance of our day.

Against heavy odds, attorney H. Edward Phillips III still hopes to preserve one such monument: the Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial.

“There’s potentially a legal solution or potentially a political solution,” Phillips told RedState.

The attorney represents the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an organization founded in Richmond, Virginia, in 1896. SCV has fought to preserve the Arlington Confederate Memorial.

That fight became necessary after the country descended into woke madness following the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020.

Congress responded to that summer’s orgy of indiscriminate monument defacement and destruction by treating rioters as if they had a rational grievance and were not, in fact, Marxist hordes bent on eradicating all history that did not support their pathologically narcissistic oppressor-oppressed worldview.

As part of their metaphorical and literal bending of the knee, Americans’ elected representatives endorsed that worldview.

In its 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress charged the Department of Defense with establishing a “commission relating to assigning, modifying, or removing of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia to assets of the Department of Defense that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.”

The DOD responded by forming what became known as the Naming Commission. Then, in October 2022, the Pentagon announced that it would begin implementing the Naming Commission’s recommendations.

In short, because the U.S. Army operates Arlington National Cemetery, the Confederate Memorial had to go.

The 2021 NDAA, however, also included an exemption for grave markers.

And therein lay the basis for the legal challenge. The grave of its sculptor, Moses Ezekiel, lay at the monument’s base.

“If we prevail on the merits, one of the remedies is that you have to put this thing back up because this was incorrectly classified by the naming commission,” Phillips told RedState.

“It’s actually a grave marker, and it should go back up,” he added.

Phillips also noted that Congress could solve the entire problem by expressly designating the Confederate Memorial as a grave marker. That would be the potential political solution.

Last week, the Pentagon ignored a demand from more than 40 Republicans in Congress to pause removal efforts.

Then, on Monday, U.S. District Judge Rossie Alston issued a temporary stay order pending resolution of the grave-marker issue. Alston set a hearing for Wednesday.

According to Phillips, however, Alston personally visited the removal site, moved the hearing up to Tuesday and lifted the stay.

“It’s unusual the judge would conduct his own investigation,” Phillips told RedState. “I think that’s fair to say — and it’s not a recrimination on the judge, but it’s just one of those things where it is very unusual.”

Defend Arlington, a citizen group also engaged in legal action to preserve the monument, had a more skeptical view of the judge’s visit to the removal site.

“We are disappointed that American’s had another breach in upholding the rule of law today. Hon. Rossie David Alston, Jr. visited Arlington National Cemetery ex-parte. We expect the crane is moving over the top of Ezekiel’s grave this moment,” Defend Arlington wrote Tuesday on the social media platform X.

One proposed solution involves moving the monument to the New Market battlefield site in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Ezekiel, after all, fought in that 1864 battle.

The Pentagon’s insistence upon removing the monument from the cemetery in the first place, however, constitutes the deeper problem.

Anyone who understands the history of the postwar South knows that some monuments did appear as paeans to segregation. These often went up in Southern town squares, and black residents knew that they symbolized the prevailing racial order.

Furthermore, the Confederate Memorial did feature what Arlington National Cemetery called “a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery.”

But the memorial also had a different purpose when dedicated in 1914. A monument at a national cemetery symbolized peace and unity. For that reason, many also have called it the Reconciliation Monument.

As a professional historian, I have read the antebellum sources. I know that the Civil War had nothing to do with so-called “states rights.” In fact, pro-slavery politicians regularly trampled the “rights” of Northern states.

That does not mean, however, that we must now view Civil War history through the woke lens.

Mature minds, for instance, can refute “Lost Cause” mythology without desecrating the memories of Confederate veterans.

Wokeness, however, demands a simple dichotomy. Historical nuance merely deprives narcissists of the thrill that accompanies indiscriminate destruction on behalf of the oppressed.

In short, the Confederate armed forces were not the Waffen SS. And anyone who believes otherwise should ask for a refund on his or her education.

Men who fought the Civil War and then later embraced reconciliation deserve remembrance. After all, when the war ended, those men became Americans again.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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