In the last half year, hundreds of monuments have been defaced of people who fought for freedom and the civil rights for all. Monuments to Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, and John Greenleaf Whittier, founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society, have been vandalized, along with hundreds of other monuments to people who fought for freedom and individual rights for all.

We need to know our history, good and bad, to learn from it.

Millions fought in the Civil War because freedom and individual rights for all do matter!

In the North, many of us were puritans and we valued a land where we could be free, with the freedom to live a God-fearing life. In the North, we rejected the first slave ship and in the census of 1860, only 1 percent of the whites in the North had slaves. The Republican Party, founded in 1854, was abolitionist and not one Republican had slaves. In the South, 4.8 percent of whites owned slaves, and in most Southern states many free blacks had slaves. Louisiana had 3,200 black slave owners

In the Civil War, we were to fight for the right for all men to be free. In this war there were over 1.5 million casualties, and over 620,000 people died to settle this dispute.

The famous Saint-Gaudens Civil War monument up in Cornish is dedicated to the all-Black 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment of free Blacks who fought in the Civil War. Thousands of monuments across the country are dedicated to the men and women who fought for a better world in their times and should not be vandalized.

In the South, in Louisiana there was a Black regiment of over 1,000 men who fought for the preservation of the confederacy. Why? History is not always easy to understand if you don’t preserve it.

Down through the millennia we have had totalitarian countries and empires from all people, groups, and races that have allowed slavery. I am proud that the United States was the third country in the world to eliminate slavery, in 1865, and proud that there were groups throughout the history of our country that stood against any form of slavery. May we preserve the memorials to these people and not desecrate them through ignorance of the stories of these great men and women.