The Arizona Confederate Memorial in Phoenix, Arizona
I grew up in Minnesota, and moved to Phoenix when I was a teenager, and had no idea of the connection between Arizona and the Confederacy. And so seeing the Confederate Memorial in Wesley Bolin Plaza (near the State Capitol Building in Phoenix) a few years ago really got me thinking.
A little bit of research about the history of Arizona answered my questions about the Confederary, but something that puzzled me is why the memorial was built, in 1961, and why it remains.
The answer is on the memorial itself. It says, "A Nation That Forgets Its Past Has No Future". And that is exactly the point. Whatever history has to say after over 100 years, it should always be able to look back. The truth can be painful, but the truth is important.
When this memorial was built, in 1961, there would have been people whose grandparents remembered the Confederacy. And in addition to a family connection, there was a reason why Arizona remembered the Confederate Army. It had to do with another war, one that had been going on for a very long time in Arizona, with the Apaches.
When the Civil War began, in 1861, the United States Government, which had been supplying troops for that war, mostly turned its back on Arizona. The Confederacy had been watching, and were quick to step in.
Real history is a very complicated thing. If you see something like this that makes you wonder, "what?" then it's time to do some research. You may not like what you find, but it will be the truth.
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Posted by Brad Hall