Public Hearings on Battle Park: Hoping For A Different Outcome?

W.C. Fields (1880-1946) American comedian and actor says it best.  “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” 

If you have children you’ve experienced this maneuver. Ask Mom, and if she says no, ask Dad, maybe he’ll say yes. The outcome was perfectly clear when we discussed the monument at Battle Park at three previous hearings at the Booker T. Theater. “Leave it alone!” That wasn’t the desired answer so let’s see how it goes this time.

TODAY: Come give your input on the Battle Park Master Plan from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences.

This removal of monument-business was underway, but it wasn’t until General Robert E. Lee’s statue in Richmond, VA. came under attack that I awakened. This event changed my reading life. I was incensed, knowing that editing our history for better or worse was another assault to fundamentally change America. The truth of the matter was, I knew very little about Lee. I had a once over lightly acquaintance that included names of leaders and battles during the Civil War. Being honest with myself, I knew little about the men and women whose leadership and direction formed the world I grew up in. Who were these people that formed the backdrop of my life?  Almost overnight, I had to know. I started with Charles Braclean Rood’s Lee: The Last Years, to Michael Korda’s, Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E.Lee, and Mark Perry’s Grant and Twain: The Story of Friends. On to a dozen books on F.D.Roosevelt, and a dozen Churchhill books, many of our Presidents. (I would love to talk to you about President Garfield.) These books and many more have enriched my life. Had I missed them, how poor I would be.  One thing became apparent: The lives of each of these men are intertwined forever. Their friendships, their conflicts with one another, admired or suspect, they became what was needed in their day and time, and together they are who we have become. For better or worse, in sickness and in health.

It isn’t just the monument, but all the lives that are intertwined, each significant. Today we have a different understanding of our history. Confederate monuments honor all those who gave their lives and now declare the progress that has taken place. This is something to celebrate that does not require removal.  Through my Norman Rockwell glasses, I see the parade assembled the day the monument was dedicated. We’ve all been to parades. Decorating bikes, music, the young scouts who were hauled out of bed early to be sure they had a bath and hair slicked down in time to march that day. Each with a story.  In spite of this ‘master plan’meeting, I guarantee you, in the light of all we have on our plate to be getting on with in Rocky Mount, Battle Park is not nor should it be, a priority. You can forget using the park plan as a foil to get to the monument again. “Leave it alone!”

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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8 Responses to Public Hearings on Battle Park: Hoping For A Different Outcome?

  1. Rodd says:

    So if the voters stupidly elect Bernie Sanders for President are there plans to remove monuments of democracy all over the United States?

    Get the point? It’s stupid to remove the monument and serves no purpose except to appease a CERTAIN unhappy population in RM.

    Like

  2. Kelvin Price says:

    Knight, Blackwell, Smith, Williams and Dancy are all a joke. “We shall Overcome” is our motto. Lets fill that place up with supporters that want to protect our precious Rocky Mount monument.

    Like

  3. John says:

    The new mayor should make this a priority once and for all to save the monument and stop the ramped destruction of historic Rocky Mount by Mr Knight and Mr Blackwell, this will be a good test to see if the citizens of Rocky Mount made a good choice on Election Day!

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  4. Randy Adcox says:

    Thank you Stepheny! Once again you state in the most succinct way, the heart of this issue. This “master plan” may not be directly related to removing our beloved monument, but rest assured, the underlying effort here is to find some way – any way – to circumvent state law and have that monument taken down.
    Those who continually (and intentionally!) mask their true intentions under the guise of doing something “worthwhile”, should be called out for the fake and phony charlatans that they are! And the so-called “leaders” of this city who would willingly and gleefully break state law to fulfill their own egotistical desires, are the absolute WORST examples of politicians! While our city struggles with the ravages of crime, gang violence, poverty, hunger, and a multitude of *important* issues, the likes of Andre Knight and his overindulgence in his own personal agendas, is a disgrace.
    This city has a long and proud history of honoring our war dead. We’ve shown time and time again that we respect and value our veterans and their service to our country. When that monument was rededicated in 1977 to honor the veterans and war dead from ALL wars, we proudly supported that rededication and what it meant.
    Mr Knight and his racist, hate-filled cronies may have forgotten what it means to honor the sacrifices of our war dead, but the vast majority of this city have not! I hope that meeting room is filled to capacity tonight with citizens who wish to send a message to Mr. Knight and to those who ascribe to his warped and twisted views, that we STILL honor and cherish our war dead, and we won’t stand by and allow the fake and disengenuious politicians to systematically strip away a history they don’t understand and are to intellectually lazy to learn about.
    I look forward to seeing you at the meeting tonight!

    Like

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