Alabama Memorial Preservation Act protects all monuments

Published 6:50 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dear Editor,

In a recent article, Hank Sanders denounced the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.

If made law, it would protect monuments from being arbitrarily moved or altered and restrict the renaming of counties, municipalities, parks, streets, bridges and the like, especially those of cultural or historic significance. Changes would now require the oversight of the state. While the large majority of Alabamians would welcome such protective measures, Sanders refers to it as “rank oppression” and “deception.”

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One of Sanders’ complaints is the state of Alabama would have the final say on name changes or monument removals.

He had no such reservations when in June of 2015 he tried to sneak a bill through the state Senate to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge without the knowledge or input of the citizens of Selma.

Once the plot was uncovered, the people of Selma, both black and white, made it known that they were overwhelmingly against the change, and the attempt failed.

Officially established memorials are, in essence, a public trust to be protected for future generations.

As it is now, long standing memorials are at the mercy of any temporarily elected municipal government, which chooses to abscond from its duty to protect them. It is essentially the same as when Isis takes over a city and destroys historically significant artifacts because they can.

The Memorial Preservation Act would create a committee which “reflects the racial, gender, geographic, urban/rural and economic diversity of the state.” It would require that written comments from the general public, if any, be considered before waivers to the act would be granted.

Sanders may not welcome public input, but that is how government by the people is supposed to work. How is that oppressive?

Sanders insinuates that this bill was made to protect Confederate monuments. The truth is that it protects all historic memorials equally.

Isn’t treating all equally under the law what the Civil Rights Movement was all about? Perhaps Sen. Sanders doesn’t really believe that.

As for the claim that this act would “prevent future historic monuments,” that is just pure nonsense, and Hank Sanders knows it.

Obviously, his definition of “oppression” or “deception” differs from that in Webster’s Dictionary. The only “oppression” or “deception” associated with this act is the attempt to keep it from becoming law.

Steven Fitts