The Fight for our Heroes - Part I
Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant. The first is the central figure in human history who set the moral and ethical foundations that form the basis of our existence. The second personified the word duty and dedicated the prime years of his life to winning American independence and setting the United States on the road to freedom for all people. The latter two saved our Union from ruin, sparking “a new birth of freedom” for the United States and ensuring “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” It is hard to imagine how these heroes of history and so many others like them could deserve anything but our eternal reverence and respect, but with increasing alarm, there are violent pushes to erase, destroy, and rewrite the legacies of the titans who tower above us.
Like many of those under attack, Washington, for example, fought for the “fate of unborn millions,” and without his tireless commitment to building a better future, none of us currently living would have a meaningful place in this world. The attempts to degrade these figures is gravely unjust and the denial of the great sacrifices they made for all of us is a tragic betrayal. This kind of behavior is further compounding an already dangerous divide in our country, and as Abraham Lincoln would be quick to remind us, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We must look to the past for strength in our future, and that means taking steps to ensure that our heroes are accurately understood, and that history is not dismantled. Just as heroes like Washington, Lincoln, Grant, and a great many more fought for each of us, it is well beyond time that we stand up and fight for each of them in return.
On June 18, 2020, a group of protesters in Portland, Oregon draped the American flag over a statue of George Washington, lit Old Glory on fire, and then proceeded to tear down the bronze behemoth. One day later, another mob defaced and toppled a statue of Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Sadly, these attacks are a part of a far larger pattern of assaults against America’s greatest heroes. Just a few of the other victims that have recently been either defaced, damaged, or worse are the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C., the memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment in Boston, two more George Washington monuments in Baltimore, Maryland and in Chicago, Illinois, and a statue of the famed fighting abolitionist Hans Christian Heg in Madison, Wisconsin. Threats are now being made to remove statues of Abraham Lincoln in Boston and in Washington D.C. One far-left activist with over one million followers on Twitter has even advocated for the destruction of statues and images honoring Jesus Christ, writing, “Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.”
For anyone committed to the pursuit of honest truth and the use of critical reasoning to carefully study and navigate the profound complexities of human history, one thing is abundantly clear: If Jesus Christ, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and the countless other heroes who have fought and died for our freedoms over the years are not worthy of our respect and devotion, we are left with a world devoid of meaning where no man or woman will ever be fit to be looked upon with any kind of esteem. In the classic dystopian novel 1984, the great English author George Orwell forewarned us about this type of world when he wrote, “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.” Any society that allows this type of pattern to take root cannot long endure.
CBS News: George Washington statue toppled by protesters in Portland, Oregon.
Fox Baltimore: George Washington statue defaced.
Fox News: From George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant - Statues, monuments vandalized extend beyond Confederates.
Fox News: Shaun King - Statues of Jesus Christ are 'form of white supremacy,' should be torn down.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hans Christian Heg was an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery. What to know about the man whose statue was toppled in Madison.
NBC Chicago: George Washington statue vandalized in Chicago's Washington Park.
Newsweek: Protesters plan to tear down statue paid for by freed salves.
Newsweek: San Francisco Protestors Tear Down Union General Ulysses S. Grant's Statue.
New York Post: Boston considers removing Abraham Lincoln statue with freed slave.
Stars and Stripes: National World War II Memorial is vandalized.
WBUR: 16 statues and memorials were damaged during Sunday's protests, including one dedicated to African American soldiers.