There is an increasingly alarming problem in the United States today which some are calling “revisionist history”. I was recently reminded of this when I recently received a petition from Change.org regarding changing the name of a Florida high school from its current namesake.
The school is named after General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a decorated and brilliant Civil War Calvary hero. The supposed offense and reason to change the name is that Nathan Bedford Forrest was allegedly the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and committed murder on a black battalion and fort that had already surrendered.
If you bother to read the facts, General Forrest was tried and exonerated for any war crimes after the Civil War was over. In fact, Gen. Forrest was judged and found innocent by General William T. Sherman, the man who coined the term “War is Hell,” and made his famous “March to the Sea.” During his infamous “march”, Gen. Sherman allowed homes, crops, livestock and all manner of support to be burned or stolen, leaving women, children, and elderly of both races to starve. Sherman was never tried for any war crimes, being that the North won the war.
To the victors go the spoils as well as written history.
Unlike General Forrest, General Sherman’s name has never been besmirched, despite his actions during wartime. The fact is that it wasn’t Nathan Bedford Forest who was the grand wizard of the KKK but was his grandson, one Nathan Bedford Forrest II. General Forrest can hardly be blamed for something he did not personally do.
Unfortunately, getting offended without the facts is a national epidemic in the United States.
People of the Southern region have their history and traditions. Just because that history is not to your liking, does not mean it did not happen. The past is written in stone, not in pencil; you can’t just erase and rewrite it as you like.
The gentleman who sponsored the petition to have General Forrest’s name removed from the Florida school admits he isn’t originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but rather moved there from Long Island, NY.
The facts of the matter are as follows:
Nathan Bedford Forrest grew up in extreme poverty.
He was a self-made man who rose to wealth by hard work. He was the embodiment of the American Dream.
He was one of the most brilliant battle strategists of all time. His skills are still taught today in military schools.
He was exonerated for any war crimes allegedly committed by a military court after the Civil War.
He returned to civilian life with no grudge against his former foes.
There is no reason to forget this man’s accomplishments. He made his honorable mark on history and he does not deserve to be erased like a disease and replaced by a more “sanitary” figure.
Comparatively speaking, America is still a very new country while Europe is much more seasoned with time. There have been many occurences throughout European history that weren’t “pretty”, but somehow, no one ever talks about rewriting their past.
So please, get the facts straight first and foremost, before your “offense mechanism” kicks into play. And most importantly, leave history alone. There is always a slim chance that we could all learn from it.
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