By Marion Roland Conrad, Virginia Beach (File photo)
To the editor:
I am the granddaughter of Richard Norris Roland, Sr. who was an Alexandria resident who chose to fight for the Confederacy, and I lived in the city for many years. Who better than I to talk about the “Appomattox” statue, which is indeed a monument to regret, not glory.
The soldier depicted represents the many lost lives of not only Confederate soldiers but all the fathers, brothers, uncles and friends who lost their lives during the Civil War, many of whom were actually Union soldiers.
My grandfather was part of the movement to erect “Appomattox” and I recall these stories being discussed at the dining room table all those years ago, including such things as Appomattox and the statue’s true meaning.
My grandfather had brothers who fought for the Union — one brother never spoke to my grandfather again because he chose to fight for the Confederacy. I feel city council has no respect for my heritage or the many men who lost their lives.
I actually met with Mayor Allison Silberberg some months ago and she told me, my daughter and granddaughter that the statue didn’t really mean anything to her. I find it very interesting that she and others on city council are not even from Alexandria.
The “Appomattox” soldier isn’t armed, he is a man of peace. That was the intent: to remember the men who lost their lives during the war, both Union and Confederate soldiers. I have a hard time understanding why city council would go against their own committee, which recommended to leave the statue alone.
It clearly demonstrates they have their own agenda, and it is not to listen to the residents or the people it matters most to.