Bless the heart of Bill Redding, who stood up at the public hearing on rezoning lots for parking spaces east of ECU...

Monuments remember each side of epic tragedy

Cliff Page

Cliff Page


Sunday, December 3, 2017

With the election Rutherford B. Hayes, the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction. Southern states were re-admitted into the Union. Marshall law ended in the South. From about 1885 to 1824, circa the 50th Anniversary of the War between the States, there was a great desire for forgiveness and reunification.

There was a need for conciliation and honor for those now aging and those lost. This was the America Beautiful period in our history in which parks, public spaces, sculpture, urban landscaping and rebuilding was going on across the nation, a dynamic Renaissance, making life more livable, civil and cultured.

The Grand Old Army and the Confederate Veterans of America held conventions where tales were swapped of valor, loss, glory and honor. Gray bearded and wizened veterans joined together at battlefield reunions to break bread and extend hands of forgiveness, reconciliation and respect. During this time, both North and South erected monuments and memorials to their war heroes and those fallen in the field of battle.

Sculptures of North and South glorified their individual side’s distinct messages, which acted as eternal symbols to their causes and their glory, expressions of momentary history. Those actors on this stage of time, hopefully would live on in the minds of posterity, that history and the nation's struggles would not be forgotten, nor would their lives be counted as squandered and wasted in vain.

Rather, it was intended, that these men and events should be recalled in the future and contemplated, argued about and reflected upon, as actors of a grand play of immortal history, continuing to be studied and remembered through the ages. Their purpose was to give meaning to heroism, bravery, honor, commitment, patriotism and duty.

The war had been a grand epic tragedy in which the glories of the past could positively shape or constrain our future, but should remind us all of the faults and failures of all mankind and also his nobility. These events and memorials, in both North and South today, serve as a guiding light to direct future generations of Americans. These monuments are the greatest sculptural assets of our nation, created at the zenith or our cultural history.

No one monument can define this era, any more than a single actor or a single scene can define a play. The First Battle of Mananas did not define four years carnage, blood, sorrow, glory and defeat. America's historic monuments are our heritage, milestones in the story of America's great defining marshal epoch. But, it is not just our story. It is a story for the world.

Current events in America have metastasized from an ambivalent era of political correctness into what is quickly becoming a Maoist Cultural Revolution. As the world leader, America’s actions, attitudes and fashions are followed, copied and mimicked everywhere on the globe, whether innovative, wholesome or obscene.

What extremist iconoclasts and terrorist have recently done in the Middle East is repugnant and a crime against humanity, world history and art. In the past what occurred in the secret world of Eastern socialism was derided by the West and scorned. Today, 50 years later, somehow the vector of this madness has infected our nation.

From American shores this pathogen could become a global contagion that will consume the world’s historic culture and its symbols of heritage and civility. Americans should not encourage or promote acceptability of a diseased madness that will only diminish our national power, prestige and honor, encourage international chaos and threaten world culture and beauty.

We should act more civilized and mature. We have a global leadership responsibility to promote our constituted and inalienable protected rights of speech, writing, assembly and expression. When America constrains these rights, by censorship, in whatever form, it is at our own peril.

Cliff Page was the Sculptor in Residence at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, N.H., during its 50th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. He studied at the National Institute for the Fine Arts, Mexico, was a Fulbright Fellow to Italy and is an ODU and ECU graduate.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

August 15, 2018

The Washington Post

It was a gratifying reaffirmation of American values when thousands of protesters turned out Sunday to denounce the few dozen white-nationalist bigots who rallied across from the White House on the anniversary of last year's mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was also, from…

August 15, 2018

The Situation Room "is the inner sanctum within an already-secure facility where the most sensitive of the most sensitive information is discussed," Ned Price, former spokesman for the National Security Council said.


In responding to a question from The Washington Post, Price put his…

jim hoagland

August 14, 2018

Have you seen the Nature Valley (the granola bar people) ad out of Canada? It has been making the social-media rounds lately, because it seems to capture something that is well within our power to fix. It portrays different generations of families talking about their childhoods. Scripted or not,…


August 14, 2018

If you haven't been to the DMV lately, prepare to be unpleasantly surprised. Everyone's favorite state agency has upped its game and now offers an even more hellish experience.

I'm currently writing this column while sitting cross-legged on the floor at a DMV office. State leaders have been urging…

Colin Campbell

August 13, 2018

Bloomberg Opinion

Zimbabwe's hopes for an election free of violence and manipulation have been dashed, and President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa is preparing to take office under a cloud. Zimbabwe's friends and neighbors shouldn't look away. They still have a chance to help the country's long-…

August 13, 2018

The views of rank-and-file Republicans, captured in voter surveys, are nothing less than galling.

Let's lead with a poll conducted by the global marketing firm Ipsos and reported by the Daily Beast. It found that 43 percent of self-identified Republicans said that they believed "the president…

Colbert I King

August 13, 2018

In North Carolina politics, Democrats dominate urban areas while Republicans win suburban and rural voters. Outcomes are determined largely by which counties have the highest turnout in a given election.

If you follow state politics, you’ve heard some version of this explanation many times.…

john hood.jpg

August 12, 2018

Most of this column is going to be copied from another writer. He knew how to say what I want to tell you, much better than I could ever do.

While I am at it, let me confess that most of what I write for you each week comes from material other people have written or told me. So very little is…


August 12, 2018

Before the story fully fades from view, it's important to remember one of the most shameful episodes in a shameful presidency: the Trump administration's policy of "zero tolerance" toward illegal immigrants that separated more than 2,500 children from their parents.

Public outcries and legal…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

August 12, 2018

This week a New York man, Carlos Bayon, was arrested after leaving threatening messages for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., promising to go after their families and "feed them lead."

When police raided his home, they found 200…

282 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»