LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe has welcomed the removal of the statue that sparked the deadly "Unite The Right" rally four years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying that the the point of the statue coming down is not to "erase history" but to provide a more accurate representation of it.
The statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed Saturday, as was the statue of another Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson, that sat nearby, though the stone bases of both statues will remain for now.
Both Lee and Jackson were slave owners who fought against the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Civil War. Their statues will now be placed in storage.
On Sunday (July 11), Blythe took to his Instagram to write: "Yesterday morning I went to Charlottesville, VA with a friend to shoot photos of the removal of the statues of Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson, but when we got there Lee was already gone, & we just barely caught Jackson being wheeled away. I stood there looking at the empty plinth Lee stood on & thought back to 2017, when a 20 year old neo-Nazi came all the way here from Ohio to join a bunch of other hate-filled people, people who marched with torches through this sleepy town chanting 'Jews will not replace us!' shouting the language of the Reich, of fascism, of the Führer, of the mechanized killing machines of Auschwitz. This deluded young man was so filled with hatred that he drove his car full speed into a crowd of people, injuring 35 people & killing a 32 year old Virginia girl. That man will never leave prison, sentenced to life + 419 years. Heather Heyer is dead & gone, & she will never feel the sunshine on her face again. For what? A stupid hunk of metal & stone? Because other people don't have the same skin color? I will never understand that way of thinking.
"People say 'You can't erase history by taking those statues down.' They are right, but that's not the point of those statues coming down- no one is trying to forget history at all- they are striving for an accurate recounting of it. And a much better instructional source than statues are actual letters from the time period we are studying. We can & should learn from those writings, so here's a couple of quotes from the letters of a man who was very much opposed such monuments, categorically refusing to have anything to do with them after the Civil War ended:
"'As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt ... would have the effect of ... continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.' - Robert E. Lee
"'I think it wiser not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.' - Robert E. Lee
"Pay attention to history."
The debate regarding Confederate monuments has been polarizing in cities across the country for many years. Randy's hometown of Richmond and communities across the nation are confronting the crisis of racism which has afflicted our country for generations.
The most recent removal push focused on the Lee monument began in 2016 and led to the aforementioned violent "Unite The Right" rally when white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups descended on Charlottesville to protest efforts to remove monuments to the infamous 19th-century military leaders.
At least 160 symbols honoring the Confederacy were removed in 2020, including 94 monuments.
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