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Not all Civil War monuments are disrespectful
August 24, 2017

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To Editor John Speer-

A conversation in my office occurred about the Civil War Monuments and Statues. I live near Atlanta, GA so as you probably can imagine the conversations are strong. While I was listening I reflected on my connection to the Civil War, my Great Grandfather, James Young. I didn't have the guts to say "Not all Civil War Monuments are Disrespectful" instead I wrote my argument. Attached is my story I wanted to share with someone in Toledo so you were the lucky candidate (since I know no one there). - Lois Young

I am sitting in an office in Atlanta, Georgia hearing co-workers boasting proudly how they AGREE and KNOW that all the Civil War monuments and statues must come down; how those hunks of marble are disrespectful to our culture now. They are convinced the message those statutes and monuments are stating is all about slavery. They are caught up into the news events that happened in Charlottesville. I know my co-workers have their hearts in the right place, "unity". I realize in all history of mankind, statues have been brought down in solidarity.

Yet, here I am quietly gasping while they converse, my heart is heavy because I know of a monument that pays homage to Civil War Veterans. A monument that gives me peace of mind, a place to connect with my family's past, a large piece of art that started out as a bronze casting that ended up to be a sanctuary for me: The Soldier Monument in Toledo, Iowa. My Great Great Grandfather's name is listed on that monument, James Young.

James Young died October 20, 1864 of wounds from the Civil War in Martinsburg, Virginia. He was mustered January 19, 1864. He was wounded severely October 19, 1864 at Cedar Creek, Virginia. He was in Company G. They never sent his body back home for a proper burial. Most likely his body was placed in a large ditch with other soldiers, covered with dirt with no marker, no headstone. There is no headstone for him next to his wife, Hester in Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo (she died in 1882). To pay my respects to my Great Great Grandfather, I go to the Soldier Monument in the town square.

As my co-workers continue sounding off to the tune of there is no good to anything associated with a Civil War monument or statue anywhere in this country, I sit ever so still hoping, praying that no one in Toledo or Tama County makes a demand that the Soldiers Monument must come down and the county has to make a decision because if it goes down, a part of me (my family) will go down too.

All I have to honor Great Great Grandpa James Young is the Soldier Monument in Toledo, Iowa. Not all Civil War monuments are disrespectful.

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