Kentuckians for the preservation of all war monuments, including our Confederate monuments
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To Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin,
We the People of the Commonwealth have all seen our culture being trampled on lately, Kentucky has come into focus by people and or entities that don’t understand our way of life, and think we are behind in the twenty first century. As Kentuckians, we are very proud of our heritage, religion, and our way of life. Many of us have deep roots in our State dating as far back as the Revolutionary War, and we cherish all things that Kentucky has done, and will do in Generations to come. Our history has, and always will, be a part of Kentuckians posterity. As our Founding Fathers said, “for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Kentucky has its own culture, unique only to Kentucky, passed down from Generations of honest and noble men. Kentucky has seen its fair share of change, particularly around the Civil War.
The Civil War in Kentucky was a fratricidal conflict that split families, including that of President Abraham Lincoln. Thousands of Kentucky families were broken by the war. U.S. senator John J. Crittenden had one son who was a Union general and another who was a Confederate general. Union colonel Charles Hanson had two brothers fight for the Confederacy, including Brigadier General Roger Hanson, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee. The Reverend Robert J. Breckinridge, a staunch Unionist who helped sway Federal military policy in Kentucky, had two sons fight for the North and two fought for the South. These scenarios were repeated in scores of Kentucky families. Although Lincoln was the Union commander-in-chief, most of his in-laws, the Todd family of Lexington, supported the Confederacy. Lincoln’s brother-in-law, Confederate general Ben Hardin Helm, was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. Upon learning of Helm’s death, Lincoln reputedly wept and said, “I feel as David of old did when he was told of the death of Absalom.” After Helm’s death his widow, Emilie Todd Helm, visited Abraham and Mary Lincoln in the White House. This created a stir in Washington, and newspapers complained when Lincoln’s rebel sister-in-law visited. Later, when Emilie was seeking the president’s permission to travel into the Confederacy to sell cotton, she reminded Lincoln that Union bullets had made her a widow and her children orphans, so Lincoln bore the responsibility to help her. Mary Lincoln lost several family members during the war, including her half-brother, Samuel, who was killed at the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, and another half-brother, Alexander, who was killed at the Battle of Baton Rouge. Several more of her siblings were Confederate soldiers or sympathizers. Few families were immune from the divisions of the Civil War.
The Civil War not only divided Northern and Southern cultures, in fact it divided families all the way to the White House. Knowing what Abraham Lincoln said himself about his own family, we Kentuckians know what he would say today about our Union and Confederate Monuments.
Post-war Kentucky needed healing. Families, communities and entire regions of the state had been ripped apart by the war, and more than simple animosity was prevalent throughout. Yet as the North and South healed their wounds and settled their differences, surely Kentucky would, as well. For in Kentucky, where such division had resulted from North and South’s convergence, there was also great promise, because, as historian Bruce Catton wrote, “where North and South touched one another most intimately” was also where they “came closest to a mutual understanding.”
Kentuckians have both Union and Confederate ancestors, and within our own hearts, we have a mutual understanding. Kentucky is finally at peace, and our monuments Union and Confederate are our reminders, that the peace comes from hour hearts. Kentucky is where North and South touched most intimately, Kentucky has become that place for great promise that Bruce Catton Wrote about all those years ago.
In nearly every Kentucky community something reminds us of the Civil war, and our Civil War ancestors are themselves still with us in Cemeteries everywhere, quiet places, markers of the human cost of war. In Kentucky the civil war is not passive, or dead. In Kentucky the war is long over, but never forgotten.
We Kentuckians stand in solidarity with a mutual understanding, that all monuments including, Union and Confederate, that these Men, Women, and Children have the peace they deserve in death. They are our ancestors, we are their voices, and we are their blood. Our State motto is United we stand, Divided we fall, and we will never forget those ties that bind us all.
For those of you who wish to trample on our way of life, culture, religion, Confederate monuments, overalls, straw hats, and our heritage. Don't bother speaking for us, as we are just fine and very capable of speaking for ourselves and our twenty first century way of life. We understand your perversion of it, and simply decline it.
We the descendants of all wars Kentucky has been a part of, would like to Preserve all Monuments of every War, especially Union, and Confederate. This should never be an issue for the loss of life these Men, Women, and Children gave for the State of Kentucky.
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