Warner Todd Huston
Obama's Confederate memorial the right move to make
By Warner Todd Huston
May 26, 2009

President Obama sent a wreath to the Confederate memorial at Arlington cemetery during the memorial services to recognize the sacrifices and service of the members of our armed forces this week. It has been a tradition since Woodrow Wilson offered a wreath to memorialize Confederate dead at Arlington and a tradition that many on the American far left wanted to see ended. They have been disappointed.

But the president also started a new tradition, one that everyone should welcome and one that we should all hope is continued by every succeeding president that comes after Obama. President Obama also laid a wreath at the African-American Civil War Memorial at Vermont Avenue and U Street Northwest in Washington D.C.

President Obama struck just the right balance on this and he should be commended. By memorializing the fallen from federal service, the fallen from Confederate service, and the fallen memorialized by the African-American monument we have at last a united effort that recognizes the sacrifice of all Americans, equally.

Sadly, many leftists in America didn't want this reconciliation, this retying of bonds, to occur. They wanted punishment, further separation, and vitriol to reign. They wanted President Obama to refuse to recognize that the many hundreds of thousands of Americans of southern heritage could possibly have died in an honorable fashion. After nearly 150 years, the left wanted to continue the strife.

Don't get me wrong, rapprochement is not always the right course at just any time. There are requirements for both sides for such an effort to be worthwhile. In this case, the north was the victor the south the vanquished, but a realignment between our two once warring sections has obviously been successful for several generations. Unlike other societies wracked by sectional differences that ended in war, America's rift has healed. While there certainly remain some differences and political clashes, there is no feeling of separation that tears at those bonds of affection or shatters the mystic chords of memory between us, north and south.

So, it is right and good that President Barack Obama should continue to remember the Confederate fallen while also renewing our obligations to remember all who fell for the union. All, each and every one, not just those of the "right" color.

Some may say that the memorial at Arlington most certainly represents the black Americans that fell during the Civil War. They may say that a wreath at the African — American monument is pointless pandering. On the surface, they would be right to say so. But there is significance to recognizing the blacks that fought and fell with a special remembrance. Because of the unfulfilled promise that the Civil War represents, it is fitting that fallen African-Americans be given their due here.

Obama's wreath at the African-American monument costs us nothing and rewards us well. His continuation of the memorial to the Confederate dead reminds us that all is forgiven and renews our brotherhood, and his solemn duty at Arlington for the fallen of our federal services pays homage to those who gave their last full measure.

May God bless our fallen. Each and every one, Americans all.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

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