As a white male who grew up in Louisiana during the 1950s and 1960s, and attended segregated schools until the 11th grade, I know firsthand the cruelty of the Jim Crow South. During the struggles for civil rights, the Confederate flag and KKK were the rallying signals for those who wanted to deny black Americans the most basic civil rights. I still remember the cruel chants and the violence from people carrying Rebel flags and wearing Klan garb. To glorify the Confederacy with places of honor is hurtful to all Americans who were denied their rights because of the color of their skin.

As a veteran (U.S. Army 1969-1972), I am offended that some of our leaders would equate service in the cause of breaking up the country and keeping millions of people as slaves with that of defending the United States of America. Service in the Confederate army was no more noble than serving in the German or Japanese armies. Some soldiers in all armies are good people who fought for the wrong cause. None of their causes should be glorified with monuments.

As a retired history teacher, Gov. Lepage’s idea that honoring the Confederacy is the same as honoring the victims of 9/11 is absurd. There is no connection between memorializing something and remembering it. There is no memorial for the British from the Revolutionary War in the United States, but we sure remember them.

Memorials are places of honor. The Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacy and all symbols and forms of racism should be shown for what they are, and none of them should be glorified with monuments in places of honor.

Robert Bond

Portland