TEXARKANA, Texas — A recent demonstration in the downtown Texarkana, which called for removing the Confederate monument here, has prompted response from one of the Texarkana veterans' organizations.
The Texarkana Chapter No. 278 of the Vietnam Veterans of America met last week and voted in favor of keeping the monument to Confederate mothers standing and where it is.
Merle Morris, a representatives of Chapter No. 278's Auxiliary VVA said the monument is about history and not racial hatred.
"I wouldn't ever want to see a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. torn down," Morris said. "He did a great thing to improve our country with civil rights and I was — and I still am — a strong supporter of civil rights. But this is all about our country's great history. Both the Civil War and the civil rights movement showed how well the country could improve itself. No monument that represent our history should ever be torn down. Tearing down monuments and memorials would be like tearing down the memory of history itself."
Chapter President Greg Beck said he wasn't surprised by the membership's vote.
"The entire VVA's motto and founding statement has always been 'Never again will one generation of veterans abandoned another,'" Beck said. "This is a statement that ties and connects every veteran this nation as ever had, to one another, both past and present."
VVA member Paul Grant agreed.
"History is something that we all should never forget, because every war the country has ever had, has always carried valuable lessons that we can all learn from," Grant said.
Local activist and Marine veteran Bess Gamble-Williams organized the initial demonstration and takes serious exception to what the Confederacy stood for — mostly because Confederacy went directly against the founding principles of what the United States stood for.
"The Confederacy was, and always will be, guilty of committing treason," she said Saturday. "The Confederacy went directly against what the U.S. stood for. When the U.S. Constitution became our founding document, it said all men were created to be free. Having slavery before the Civil War was no different from what Hitler did because he also enslaved people from the parts of Europe he occupied."
A petition effort is also underway asking the Texarkana, Texas, City Council to remove the statue.