Confederate soldier monument’s history must be preserved

I read with considerable dismay a recent Times Leader article concerning comments about the status of Caldwell County’s Confederate soldier monument.

The monument was erected by Princeton’s Tom Johnson Chapter 886 United Daughters of the Confederacy in honor and memory of the county’s several hundred Confederate soldiers. The statue was paid for with private funds raised by the ladies of the Tom Johnson Chapter, and dedicated in November 1912 in a ceremony that saw Princeton’s businesses closing so everyone in town could attend.

For almost 108 years, the monument has graced the south courthouse lawn, as a landmark and memorial to Caldwell County veterans, history, and heritage.

The monument is in fact still owned by the Tom Johnson Chapter UDC, not by any state agency or commission. It is also a protected military heritage monument, under the Kentucky Military Heritage Act of 2002, which was signed into law by Gov. Paul Patton, D.

Current Gov. Andy Beshear does not, to the best of my knowledge, actually have any legitimate constitutional authority to order the removal of this, nor any other monuments so protected.

In any case, this is a fabricated non-issue perhaps intended to further Beshear’s political ambitions, or distract from his abuses of power regarding COVID-19.

Removing a statue honoring local Confederate veterans will not solve any current social ills, and indeed has nothing to do with them. Such a removal will only exacerbate them.

As a direct descendant of local Confederate veterans myself, I find proposals to remove this monument and all others like it to be deeply offensive and discriminatory. Such proposals represent to me a true agenda of hate and intolerance.

For those that would insist on seeing Confederate monuments through a “white vs. black” racial lens, I invite them to learn about the story of a local area Confederate veteran named Ike Copeland (1832-1904).

Mr. Copeland is buried at River View Cemetery in Old Eddyville. His tombstone there notes that he was a Confederate veteran, and it was provided by his fellow Confederate comrades. Coincidentally, Copeland happened to be a black man. He was not a unique instance among Confederate veterans.

Real history was often quite different and more complicated than today’s left-of-center slanted popular media, school textbooks and politicians lead one to believe.

I call upon all local elected officials and citizens to learn more about the true history and status of Caldwell County’s Confederate soldier monument, and to voice their strong opposition to any attempts to remove it illegitimately imposed by the governor or any other government officials.

Zack Cummins