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Letter: It Wasn’t ‘Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys’

To the Editor:

In a letter regarding local schools named after Confederate generals [“Alarmed by School Names,” Connection, April 10-16, 2013] the author displays an extraordinary lack of understanding of the complexities of the issues leading to the War Between the States as well as a contempt for the courage and sacrifice of those who, often reluctantly, believed that their primary duty was to a sovereign Virginia rather than to what they believed had been conceived as a voluntary union of independent states.

I would ask the author of that letter two questions. First, should the US decide to leave the United Nations, and should the UN General Assembly announce that withdrawal from that body was not to be allowed and call upon other nations to send armies to compel us to remain as members, would we be justified in resisting such compulsion? Second, should we also cease to honor Washington, Jefferson, and all other such rebels who fought against "their country?"

The War Between the States was the most tragic episode in this nation's history. It produced examples of nobility, generosity of spirit, and almost incredible courage as well as examples of cruelty, incompetence, opportunism and pettiness on both sides of the conflict. To reduce it to a "good guys versus bad guys" melodrama is to trivialize both history and the individuals who made it.

Randolph Bragg

Alexandria