To the Editor:

I think that it is long overdue that the statue in front of the old Jackson County Courthouse be removed.

I have long thought that it needed to be removed, but I also felt that as Confederate monuments go, it was benign. I was wrong, but my feelings came from serving as both an enlisted soldier and a commissioned Army officer.

I saw the young soldier on the steps as Joe, a generic euphemism used in the Army to refer to low-ranking soldiers. Joe has no say. Joe makes no decisions. Joe is always told to carry more and do more. Joe is simply expected to follow orders. So I saw this soldier as Joe not Hood, Bragg, Gordon or Polk (all Confederate generals and ironically the name of several bases I served at while on active duty and in the reserves).

I see now that this is not what he represents to many people, and regardless of his role, his cause was unjust. Many want to claim it is heritage, but is the legacy of the Confederacy what we want children to inherit? It was an unjust and inhumane cause.

My ancestors on my father’s side settled Madison County, and my great-grandmother’s obituary says that her father served during the Civil War but not on which side. If you know the history of Bloody Madison, you could probably guess why. But no matter which side he fought on, the heritage I want for everyone who settled or will settle here in Jackson County is to feel that it is their home, and this statue stands in the way of allowing that right for all people.

Devlin Wilde,

Tuckasegee