A National Civil War Memorial?

Many visitors to Washington, DC, spend a lot of time going to memorials dedicated to individuals and groups. Among the memorials they visit are ones dedicated to the Americans who fought in the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Fewer visit Pershing Park, which serves as a World War I memorial, although a new memorial is under discussion.

Between the District of Columbia and Arlington National Cemetery, there are a good number of Civil War memorials, monuments, and statues. I need not detail them here. But one might note that there is no national memorial to the American Civil War.

Should there be? Someone thinks so.

What we have here is one vision for such a memorial. Do you think one is necessary? If so, what should it include? What themes should it emphasize?

The comments section, as always, is open.

24 thoughts on “A National Civil War Memorial?

  1. Richard McCormick May 6, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    It’s note able that it’s purpose appears to be to: “commemorate the heroic effort of the thousands of Americans involved in the War Between the States and to the significance of the lasting peace, brotherhood, and national identity of the United States” yet not to recognize the abolition of slavery.

    And why call it the “War Between the States” and not the “Civil War” or “War of the Rebellion?”

  2. Mike May 6, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Good luck getting anyone to agree on a design for such a memorial. Isn’t the entire a country a living memorial to the Civil War?

  3. OhioGuy May 6, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    That dude turned me off his project right away by calling the insurrection the “War Between the States.” I like the concept of such a memorial, but I wouldn’t trust this project in his hands.

  4. bob carey May 6, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    I would be in favor of a memorial to the Union soldiers and public figures only, with the only mention of the Confederacy being that it was defeated. The notion of treating both sides with the same level of respect is demeaning to the Union war effort. In spite of all the “Lost Cause” propaganda and heroics of the individual Confederate soldiers they were on the wrong side of

    history and the wrong side of morality. To paraphrase Grant, one of the worst causes in history.

  5. Scott Ledridge May 6, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    If serious history were included, would the heritage crowd even allow it to get off the drawing board?

  6. The Lamp May 6, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    And where do they plan on putting this stupid thing?

    • Mark Snell May 7, 2016 / 10:29 am

      Many years ago there was an effort to put it in the thriving tourist town of Wheeling, WV. (Lest anyone think that I am being serious, “thriving tourist town” was meant to drip with sarcasm, although Wheeling actually is a nice little city.) I suspect that the idea to put the memorial there was that WV was created during the war, and Wheeling was the original capital of the new state, and the region supplied troops to both sides. The idea apparently didn’t pan out, since that effort was at least a decade ago. To me, the best representation of a national Civil War memorial is the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at Gettysburg. Why does this country need anything more?

      • The Lamp May 7, 2016 / 6:12 pm

        I agree, it’s time to move on, there are battle fields all over where I live. The city of Manassas is like one big battle field with signs and markers everywhere.
        Enough is enough…

  7. OhioGuy May 6, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Frederick Douglass would agree with you.

  8. Nancy May 6, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    We already have a Civil War Memorial right near the Capitol Building. General Grant sits on his horse atop a pedestal that has bas reliefs showing the infantry on the march. Flanking this are two tableaux, one showing the artillery and one showing the cavalry. It’s good enough for me.

    • Buck Buchanan May 9, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      You nailed. My views exactly. The myriad of monuments the veterans themselves erected are more than sufficient to memorialize the success of the US Army.

  9. John Foskett May 7, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    No – for a number of reasons, including those mentioned by other posters. By the way, why is the distinguished “panel of historians” kept anonymous? This has the odor of fabrication, contrivance, and concealed agenda wafting all over the place.

  10. rcocean May 7, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    Sounds like a noble endeavor. Commemorate the men who died and as a tribute to American Patriotism. I’ll probably contribute. Thanks for the link.

  11. Matt McKeon May 7, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    I am so disappointed with the World War II memorial, and the Korean War memorial is a mess. We’ve got enough memorials.

  12. OhioGuy May 7, 2016 / 3:34 pm

    What we need is a high profile memorial to the USCT in Washington, D.C., including not only the infantry, but the artillery and cavalry as well. After all, Lincoln said that they supplied the additional manpower that allowed the Union to win. I think one relief ought to show the USCI regiment that was the first to enter Richmond. That would put the lie to more than one myth that the Lost Cause advocates like to promote. U. S. Grant would approve of this idea. 😉

      • OhioGuy May 7, 2016 / 3:54 pm

        Yes, but I was thinking something that would be seen by your average D.C. tourist. Not that many put Howard University on their list of attractions to see, unfortunately.

  13. Al Mackey May 7, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    With all the Civil War monuments all across the country, I’m skeptical that we really need another one.

    By the way, Gary Casteel is the commander of the Wesley Culp Camp of the SCV in Gettysburg. He was behind the recent confederate flag day at the Eternal Peace Light Memorial.

    • Shoshana Bee May 8, 2016 / 10:13 pm

      Finally it dawns on me: Gary Casteel is the artist who designed the Longstreet memorial (which reminds me of a merry-go-round sculpture…I digress) I wonder if he gets any piece of the pie should the memorial come to pass, or if this is all just a warm & fuzzy demonstration of altruism.

      “commander”? Is that like the old “colonels” of the South? (thinking: colonel Sanders)

      I guess this concludes my nightly dose of cynicism.

  14. TFSmith May 7, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    A Civil War memorial without a single rebel’s name or image included would be appropriate.

    • Nancy May 8, 2016 / 2:59 pm

      The Grant Memorial qualifies.

  15. TFSmith May 10, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    True, but another one would be useful to nail it down.

  16. David May 11, 2016 / 9:32 am

    These people should look into the background of the Memorial Bridge spanning the Potomac River.

  17. Lisa September 1, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    I dated Gary Casteel for the past 3 months. He failed to disclose to me that he is a married man, and has a wife at home named Suzanne Merkey.

    I think this brings his character and integrity into question.

    With that being said, Confederate Veterans were made United States veterans by an act of Congress, and nothing is wrong with Co federate veterans being honored.

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