On April 3, 1865 Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America. Confederates evacuated the city, setting fire to warehouses on their exit.
President Lincoln would visit with his son the following day.
Within a week, General Robert E. Lee would surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.
Richmond remains a town rich in history, the good and the bad. My lunchtime walks take me down along the canal near the American Civil War Center where a statue commemorates Lincoln’s visit, and out on the partial bridge that hopefully one day will be a walking bridge across the river. The bridge bears quotes from those who saw the city falling.
This isn’t about rehashing the reasons for the war. This is about history. History that should be remembered.
I love the South. I love being a Virginian. That my region and my state were wrong in the cause of slavery does not change that. We learn from our past, the good and the bad.
And it’s not a time for sanctimonious northerners to talk about how racism only existed, or exists in the south. If you believe the cause of the North was some grand sense of human justice you are simply historically ignorant.
Or, as we say in the south “Bless your heart.”
There are those who would erase the memories of the Civil War, but that’s the wrong approach. We need to remember so that we can make sure it never happens again.