It’s a rare morning when you can wake up to GOOD news, but September 8, 2021, was one of those days.
After a legal battle that began last year during the Black Lives Matter protests in response to George Floyd’s murder, on September 2 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the state-owned statue of Robert E. Lee could be taken off of Monument Avenue.
Majestic, moneyed Monument Avenue has been a shrine to the Civil War for over 100 years, featuring statues of several other Confederate “heroes”: namely, Stonewall Jackson, Matthew Fontaine Maury (Google him, I have no idea), and Jefferson Davis, who was the Confederacy’s Donald Trump. These three have already been removed.
Now, with Lee’s departure, the last man/statue standing on Monument Avenue is, fittingly enough, black tennis superstar Arthur Ashe.
Fun Facts about the Lee statue:
- It was the largest Confederate monument in the U.S.
- The pedestal, now covered with graffiti, is 40 feet tall.
- The bronze statue of Lee and his horse was 21 feet tall.
- The statue weighs 12 tons.
- The horse isn’t Lee’s faithful steed Traveler, but some rando whose name I didn’t catch.
- When it was erected in 1890, they hoisted it onto the pedestal in seven or nine pieces (I saw conflicting numbers) and welded them together.
- The pedestal contains a time capsule that’s said to include a rare photo of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin. We shall soon find out, because that capsule is being removed and replaced with a 2021 capsule that the governor’s wife helped assemble. [UPDATE 5 MINUTES LATER: I just read that they didn’t find the capsule today where they thought it was and plan to keep looking.]
It seemed thousands of people turned out, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Governor Ralph Northam. Local TV stations had live coverage. The area around the statue and streets were blocked off. The crowd cheered and sang as Lee sailed majestically through the air…
I didn’t see any hordes of Confederate sympathizers protesting. Maybe they were all too busy preparing to storm the Capitol in D.C. again on September 18.
Here it is on the ground…
General Lee’s face was apparently sculpted from a cast of his real face, so the likeness is genuine. He shows a Melania-like disregard for this final humiliation. All he’s missing is her squint…
I’m including this photo I took off the TV because it’s pretty funny. The equipment near his face looks like he’s smoking a cigarette in front of his own pedestal to face a fire squad…
Before transporting the statue to an unknown location for storage, workers carefully dissected Lee at mid-torso…
Trump said they cut the statue into three pieces, but I haven’t seen that. I just hope they didn’t hurt the horse. Here’s what else the orange clown spouted, just for the attention. The sentiments do reflect his idiocy, but he clearly didn’t write this because it’s coherent…
“Our culture is being destroyed and our history and heritage, both good and bad, are being extinguished by the Radical Left and we can’t let that happen! If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago.”
Trump’s handlers obviously don’t realize that Lee ended the Civil War in “complete and total surrender” at Appomattox.
This was the front page of our local paper today. The Times-Dispatch must feel frantic as Civil War “developments” they’ve relied on for decades as a daily staple of their reporting dry up…
Accompanying Trump’s mental diarrhea was a page of public comments, mostly pro, some con. Some Southerners are still butt-hurt that owning human beings for profit is no longer a “thing.” It will probably take another generation or two for them to die off. The fewer reminders they have of the “good old days,” the better.
Some years ago, I was driving through the rolling Virginia mountains toward Charlottesville (probably going to visit Thomas Jefferson’s beautiful home, Monticello). It made me sad to think that after spending most of my life here, I still couldn’t consider myself a Virginian because Virginia refused to let go of the Civil War.
A writer in today’s paper, Robert Allen, arrived here in 1977, five years after me. His impression of Richmond matched mine…
“…a Lost Cause theme park; statues, streets, schools, bridges, buildings — the glory of the Confederacy was the only story Richmond was telling.”
Thank God, times are FINALLY changing here. A few years ago, nobody would have dreamed Richmond would sacrifice Monument Avenue’s perverted grandeur to get with the century.
There’s still one relatively modest Confederate statue in another part of town, of General A.P. Hill (I know, I have no idea either). It stands in a well-traveled intersection, and the general himself is buried under it — get this — standing up…
Those crazy Confederates, what will they think of next?