October 19, 1781 – At Yorktown, Virginia, representatives of British commander Lord Cornwallis handed over Cornwallis’ sword and formally surrendered to George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau.
April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech Massacre
The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Seung-Hui Cho, kills 32 and injures 23 before committing suicide.
Emily J. Hilscher, 19, a freshman from Woodville in Rappahannock County, Virginia.
Ryan Clark, 22, a senior from Martinez, Georgia.
Ross Abdallah Alameddine, 20, a sophomore from Saugus, Massachusetts.
Brian Bluhm, a graduate student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Austin Cloyd, a freshman from Blacksburg, Virginia.
Matthew Gwaltney, from Chester, Virginia, United States.
Caitlin Hammaren, 19, a sophomore from Westtown, New York.
Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, a graduate student from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Rachael Elizabeth Hill, 18, a freshman from Richmond, Virginia.
Matthew La Porte, 20, a freshman from Dumont, New Jersey.
Jarrett Lane, a senior from Narrows, Virginia.
Henry Lee, a freshman from Roanoke, Virginia.
Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, 34, a postgraduate student from Medan, Indonesia.
Lauren McCain, 20, of Hampton, Virginia.
Daniel Patrick O’Neil, a graduate student from Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Juan Ramon Ortiz, 26, a graduate student from Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Minal Panchal, 26, a graduate student from Mumbai, India.
Daniel Pérez Cueva, 21, a student from Lima, Peru.
Erin Peterson, 18, a freshman from Centreville, Virginia.
Michael Pohle, 23, a senior from Raritan Township, New Jersey.
Julia Pryde, 23, a graduate student from Middletown, New Jersey.
Mary Karen Read, 19, a freshman from Annandale, Virginia.
Reema Joseph Samaha, 18, a freshman from Centreville, Virginia.
Leslie Sherman, 20, a sophomore from Springfield, Virginia.
Maxine Turner, a senior from Vienna, Virginia, United States.
Nicole White, a junior from Carrollton, Virginia.
Christopher Jamie Bishop, 35, Instructor, Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Instructor, Foreign Languages. A French instructor from Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
Kevin Granata, 45, Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics.
Liviu Librescu, 76, Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics, and Holocaust survivor. Killed while holding off the shooter so his students could escape out the window.
G. V. Loganathan, 51, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~ George Santayana
Somewhere, Santayana is rolling in his grave.
Main stream media and the blogs are all atwitter over Governor Bob McDonnell’s proclamation of April as Confederate History Month. Read the proclamation. In it, McDonnell says:
WHEREAS, this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all.
Rightly stated Governor. An acknowledgement that, no, it was not our finest hour. But also an acknowledgement that it was a time in history that we must not forget. A time where men and women fought with valour, and yes integrity for a cause in which they believed, misguided though they were.
More importantly, it’s a foreshadowing of the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. A time that will bring tourists and history buffs, and their associated cash, to the borders of the Commonwealth.
But, for the perpetually offended, that’s not good enough.
According to The Washington Post, the Governor is Airbrushing Virginia History.
We all know that when it comes to Governor McDonnell, The Washington Post has no bias. [See Bridge. Brooklyn. Impending Sale]
Not to be left out, Ben and Lowell, otherwise known as the Sisters from Our Lady of the Hysterical Blog Posts weigh in on the subject, as does the real Larry Sabato who tweeted:
Already tweeted about Gov. McDonnell’s Confederate proclamation, but it’s becoming increasingly clear this is a disaster for him & VA.
That would be the same Larry Sabato who helped sink George Allen because he “knew” that’s right he “knew” that George Allen used the “n-word.” Sabato later had to retract that comment and say well he didn’t really “know” it, he sort of felt it.
Still, it’s not just the left attacking McDonnell, Doug from Below the Beltway tweets: Virginia had 48 Confederate History Months between 1861 and 1865. That’s enough for me, thank you.
The subject generates quite a bit of “conversation” amongst the right as well. J.R. at Bearing Drift has called for the recognition of Virginia Heritage Day.
Point is, regardless of where you stand on the issue, emotions run deep.
The larger point is, that on this issue McDonnell will be criticized for his action, or inaction.
George Allen received criticism each of the four years he issued the proclamation. Jim Gilmore endeavored to be sensitive to the issue and in 1998 included an acknowledgement of slavery in his first proclamation.
That wasn’t good enough. The NAACP still criticized Gilmore and threatened a tourism boycott of the state. Gilmore’s last proclamation recognized “Virginia Civil War Month.” He also was the one who provided separate but equal days off for Lee-Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Day, pleasing no one except the state employees who get a four day weekend two weeks after Christmas, er…the winter holidays. For many, that also wasn’t good enough.
It never would be.
Mark Warner and Tim Kaine avoided the issue.
But we’re on the eve of an important anniversary. The plans for the Sesquicentennial are well underway. It’s important that we remember our history. The good and the bad.
It may be painful to do so. And surely emotions will rise again, even if the south doesn’t.
But no one, not McDonnell, nor Gilmore or Allen before him, is calling for a return to racial discrimination and certainly not a return to slavery. Anyone who implies that they are is either grandstanding for political purporses or…a moron. I have no patience for either.
I had great-grandfathers who fought for the Confederacy, so I could be a legitimate “Son of the Confederacy.” But between you and me, those people scare me. Still I’m not about do deny my heritage. I’m not about to deny that I love Virginia. I love the South. And I can appreciate that heritage without having to whitewash it. So to speak.
Do I love the fact that our history bears the dark stain of slavery? Of course not.
But it’s the sum of that history, the good and the bad, that makes me who I am, and who our Commonwealth is today.
There are a lot of disagreement on this issue. There have been for, oh at least 150 years. But it’s not going to go away. And the vast majority of people who are critical of the Governor are going to be critical no matter what he does. Today it’s Confederate History Month. Tomorrow it’s something else.
Would it have been easier for McDonnell to take the Warner and Kaine route and ignore Virginia’s history altogether? Maybe.
But it wouldn’t have been honest.
This afternoon, McDonnell issued a statement adding the following paragraph to the proclamation:
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history.
In an equitable world, this would be the end of it. In a world where petty grudges and the scoring of political points is more important than history and integrity, there will never be enough.
Former Virginia Congressman Stan Parris died today at his home in Matthews County. He was 80.
Bearing Drift has more details as well as statements from RPV Chair Pat Mullins and Governor McDonnell: Rep. Stan Parris of Virginia passes away
I met Congressman Parris back during the 1985 campaign and frequently saw him on the campaign trail during the primary season. He dropped his challenge to Wyatt Durrette before the convention.
One of his favorite stories to tell brought groans from our group of campaign staffers traveling the state with Mr. Parris and our respective candidates.
Giving his bio, the Congressman used to joke that when he was young he got himself a job as an elevator operator in the Capitol and worked his way up to the top floor.
Rest in Peace sir. Thank you for your service to the Commonwealth and this great nation.
Join Attorney General Cuccinelli in the fight to Stop the Mandate.
No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
It’s a magazine!
Virginia’s premier political blog, Bearing Drift, tonight released the first edition of their new magazine. I’m honored and delighted to be associated with Bearing Drift as the publication Design Editor.
Check it out and let us know what you think.
The official announcement from his editorness J.R. Hoeft: Bearing Drift – the E-Zine! Volume 1, Number 1
With Virginia Republicans on the verge of making electoral history in just five short days, Bearing Drift does a recap of interviews with House candidates.