Van Hoy: Mecklenburg County, censor history at your peril

CHARLOTTE — The Board of Commissioners of Mecklenburg County has apparently tabled its consideration of whether to pile onto the national liberal effort to remove all icons of Confederate history. The particular monument targeted, at least right now, memorializes the 1929 National Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, which was held in Charlotte.

The national United Confederate Veterans organization met annually in various locations for a general convention and social reunion. Charlotte’s selection as the 1929 host city was a major coup, the sort of recognition that a chamber of commerce would trumpet. Convention cities endeavored to make more elaborate preparations and put on more impressive events each year.  Crowds in the tens of thousands participated. The conventions were held until 1950, when only one veteran was able to attend due to advancing age.

Phil Van Hoy - The MecklenburgerThe 1929 event was apparently the only time that Charlotte, then a small city, hosted. Major political figures attended. This 1929 event, in its own way and in its own time, was of the sort of importance to Charlotte that the holding of the Democratic National Convention was in 2012.

A review of the official program of the 1929 convention reveals numerous expressions of love and appreciation for the honored veterans, alive and deceased. There was nary a word about racial segregation in the program, nor, apparently, in the presentations. The major political figures around North Carolina and the South attended this command performance. Needless to say, at that time they were all Democrats.

The point of the monument was to memorialize a vital event in the development of Charlotte and to praise our military veterans. After all, those honored were American war veterans, whose service in every war has been honored. And continues to be.

Only about one in six veterans of the Confederate armed forces ever owned any slaves. My great-grandfather Amos Vanhoy of Stanly County is an example. He was mustered into service in September of 1861. His name appears in the roster of the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee commanding, who survived and continued to serve until the surrender in April 1865.

Great-grandfather Amos attended the 1929 Reunion in Charlotte. My father, the late Dr. Joe Van Hoy, participated as a Boy Scout usher.

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Program of the 1929 event held in Charlotte.

Most Southerners in uniform fought in the war to protect their states, their neighbors, and their families. A majority of North Carolinians opposed secession until Abraham Lincoln issued directions to draft Southerners and others into military service to invade the South and to blockade Southern ports. Only then did our great state secede, and during the war North Carolina troops shed more blood than any other state in the Confederacy.

On a solemn afternoon a few years ago, our family placed a Sons of Confederate Veterans brass cross on great grandfather Amos’ grave in Stanly County. A beloved family dog is named in his memory.

And the liberals, so ignorant of history, would have us stand mute while they try to make our ancestors “non-persons,” as the Soviet Union did with those who fell out of favor. That will never happen, regardless of whether honored symbols are defaced and destroyed in a futile effort to censor history.

It would make more sense to destroy the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument. After all, both these revered presidents were slave holders.

Political correctness, in the final analysis, is intolerance. If one genuinely believes the strength of a point of view, why fear airing of the opposing view? What censorious liberals fear, in the final analysis, is the truth.