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Letter: At a crossroads over history versus the present
Letters - OPINION


The statue on the Square in Covington is unique. It's a generic man dressed in his military formals that represents Newton County's fallen confederate soldiers. Most of these statues were erected between 1920 and 1970 during the height of the Jim Crow era. This one however was erected in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who were one generation removed from the battle. Their fathers and grandfathers fought in the war. The statue is the only known memorial that honors the sacrifices made by the women of the confederacy, and Covington itself is unique to history. The story of Sherman by-passing our town on his "march to the sea" makes us special. Our antebellum beauty well preserved; our county seat itself may as well be a museum. 

None of this however changes the fact that the man depicted on the statue in the center of the square represents a soldier, who regardless of his personal ideals or social class, took up arms against the United States of America in defense of slavery and those who benefited from the inhumane practice of. To our brothers and sisters of color he represents an army of fathers and sons who fought to keep their ancestors in chains. 

Today we stand at a crossroads. As usual though, the discussion in our small town starts from a solid foundation. Even those who argue for removal of the statue don't want to see it destroyed. They understand its significance and what it means to those whose ancestors died in battle. 

Whether the decision is made to relocate the memorial to the confederate cemetery in Covington or to place historical markers on the square to educate people about the Civil War, and what the statue means to different people, it's ours. Chairman Marcello Banes has made it clear that no matter what happens the citizens of Newton County will not be divided over this. We have far greater issues at hand. Level heads will prevail. Common sense compromise is the order of the day.

Dustin Ketchem

Newton County