Last Wednesday night a crazed assassin murdered nine innocent victims at a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church. Reportedly his stated purpose was to divide Charlestonians along racial lines and, if possible, to initiate a race war of white and black against each other.
But the two races came together to embrace each other at a series of powerful, moving memorial events.
Black and white together was the theme of the service I attended at noon on June 18 at Morris Brown Church.
We prayed together, wept together, embraced each other and sang “We Shall Overcome.”
It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
But then on June 21 something happened that threatened to upset that accord. The monument to “the Confederate Defenders of Charleston” in White Point Garden was attacked and defaced by red spray paint proclaiming “black lives matter.”
Those of us who mourn the dead of the June 17 tragedy, but also honor our ancestors who defended our city and state in the War Between the States, will not allow our forebears’ monuments to be dishonored.
These statues and obelisks stand in the town squares of numerous cities across our state. They are sacred to the memory of dead heroes.
Vandalizing them is equivalent to desecrating tombstones.
Attacks on these monuments will divide us along racial lines. This must not be allowed to happen.
These statues are utterly irrelevant to the tragic events at Mother Emanuel.
Let us continue to grieve together while resisting the impulse to turn on each other in the midst of our shared mourning.
Michael S. Kogan, Ph.D.