To the editor:
I was surprised that the city and so many Alexandria residents could no longer tolerate the presence of the Appomattox statue on Washington Street. Opposition to the statue was based on the false assumption that its presence showed support for the Confederacy or the values of the Old South. That view is mistaken.
After all, the city currently provides important financial support for Freedom House, the former headquarters of a domestic slave trading firm in Alexandria, but nobody believes that by doing so the city is supporting the institution of slavery. To the contrary, Freedom House stands as a valuable reminder of the city’s painful past and provides an opportunity for Alexandrians to examine and learn from it. The same would have been true by leaving the Appomattox statue in place.
In short, there is nothing contradictory about recognizing and acknowledging a symbol of Alexandria’s historical past even as we continue to strive to overcome it.
-C.J. Wenk, Alexandria