On December 2 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection held a hearing to canvas opinions on a recent proposal to erect a monument to United States soldiers who fought at Olustee, Florida, in February 1864. The SCV represented itself in fine style at the meeting. So did that black Confederate for hire, H. K. Edgerton. “There is no place in the south land of America to memorialize Yankee soldiers,” declared our favorite hero. “This is an army that came here raping, robbing, stealing, killing and murdering our people. The kinds of things that happened here under the sanction of Abraham Lincoln were for these men to commit total warfare against innocent men, women and children who could not defend themselves.”
My, my, Mr. Edgerton, I wonder why you don’t see slavery in quite the same way … or was it okay for “your” folks of the south land to rape, rob, steal, kill, and murder innocent men, women, and children as part of slavery? Guess you don’t mind that.
Then again, a commenter to a news article, one Julius B. Casey, declared: “The ‘Damn Yankees’ should be taken to Olustee & shot!” Ah, southern hospitality.
Some people understandably don’t quite agree with the rather dishonest description of the main Olustee monument as honoring both sides. Nor is everyone pleased with the behavior of some members of state representative Dennis Buxley, who sides with the SCV on the issue. After all, as one member of the Sons of Union Veterans pointed out, United States soldiers died at Olustee, too … including a good number of African Americans, who wore the blue uniform Mr. Edgerton shuns.
An opponent of the monument does not comprehend the irony inherent in his comment that a monument “disturbs the ground where American Veterans sacrificed their lives doing their duty, and they deserve the field where they fell, to be quiet now.” Are we now claiming that United States soldiers are not American soldiers?
Doubtless this story will attract more attention … and the behavior of some of the people who oppose the erection of a monument to honor the service and sacrifice of United States soldiers reminds us that it’s heritage, not history, and that for some it remains a heritage of hate. Think about that this weekend, when we remember the sacrifices made by other members of the United States armed forces at Pearl Harbor.