A Murky Heritage: the U.S. Army, the Civil War, and Memory
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.”
– Julius Caesar
Memory is an odd thing. It affects not only people, but whole societies and cultures. Take the memory of the U.S. Civil War, for example. It’s not an easy memory by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a necessary memory. Necessary because it reminds as that there was once a time when we became so divided that we slaughtered each other. That alone should give us pause in our hubris. It should stand always as a memorial that we can be better as a people. But there are some that wish to take the memory of the Confederacy and glorify it; to make it part and parcel of our American experience. They become proto-Antonys who wish to praise Caesar, as it were, rather than simply burying him.