Mississippi roots run deep

Published 9:47 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

We all have the opportunity to change our circumstances and evolve as individuals. I think most adults my age would agree that they are not the same person they were 20 or 30 years ago and hopefully for the better.

I’m a conservative Christian Southerner and that’s not going to change. My roots in Mississippi run deep with two parents who picked cotton and grew up in the Mississippi Delta. I was taught to be respectful of all people and races and their beliefs. I’ve tried my best to do just that, but I’m sure there have been times when I’ve come up short. I’ve also expected the same of others, and of course, that hasn’t always been the case.

I was also taught to stand up for my beliefs and my faith and my family. That family includes my heritage — a heritage that includes family members who fought in the “War Between the States” for the Confederacy. Those family members were not wealthy landowners, but dirt poor sharecroppers who went off to war to defend the state of Mississippi knowing this heritage sparked my interest in the war as a child and has remained with me throughout my life. In fact, that was a big reason why I majored in History while at Delta State University.

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Writing all of this leads me to this: When the government decides to dig into those Southern roots, it causes me and others like me to become angered. That was certainly the case this week when monuments representing the “War Between the States” were removed from public areas in the city of New Orleans in the middle of the night. And on Confederate Memorial Day, no less, which leads me to believe it was not a coincidence.

I understand to a degree why some may want to remove those Confederate monuments from public view, but does that really change anything? That dark history of the United States where more than 600,000 Americans died still exists. I’ve always viewed those statues as not only honoring those who fought for the “Southern Cause,” but also as a reminder that we do not want to repeat that history. I think most reasonable people can agree that we do not ever want to see a repeat of history. I believe that if we continue to remove such reminders of history, people will forget that history and we are doomed to repeat it in generations to come.

Now don’t think I’m a “Crazy Conservative” defending the South’s cause in the “War Between the States” because I believe slavery was without a doubt the most disgusting and shameful portion of our history.

I’m also a staunch supporter of changing the state flag of Mississippi, which contains the Confederate battle emblem. I’d prefer Mississippi used the “magnolia flag” as a more accurate representation of all people who call the “Magnolia State” home. But removing historical markers does not change that history.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.