“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” —Proverbs 22:28
une 2020 will be remembered as the greatest cultural purge of American history in more than a century. As radicals capitalized on tragedy and sorrow to create an environment of fear and chaos, a clear message emerged: “Destroy the past.” Tear it down. Burn it. Leave standing no landmarks to our liberties.
Within the span of three weeks, hundreds of monuments were decapitated, desecrated, destroyed, or removed. And not just in the United States, but around the world. From Columbus to Churchhill, Jefferson to Jackson, mob leaders directed their followers to leave no stone unturned.
“If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” —Psalm 11:3
Politicians and community leaders got the message. Many trembled in fear. Others capitulated. Some turned a blind eye as landmarks were destroyed. In states like Connecticut, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia, some mayors attempted to appease mobs by sending crews to remove the very statues which the violent protestors were unable to topple. Citing concern over police violence, the much-beloved bronzes to the Texas Rangers were removed by officials from Dallas Love Field Airport and Texas A&M University.
The desecration of America’s cultural heritage was not limited to statues of peace officers and generals of the Confederate States of America, but to veterans of numerous wars, as well as notable figures of the pre-colonial, colonial, and early republic periods.
The vandalism and defacement even included a notable monument to black soldiers fighting for the Union during the 1860s and a marker in South Carolina to the tragedy of public auctions of humans during the height of the slave trade.
There were many to stoke the flames of violence. One Alabama college professor tweeted instructions to the mobs on the most effective strategies for violently tearing down statues. Prominent commentators associated with national news outlets, like CNN, explained that the destruction of monuments to Christopher Columbus was just the first step. They demanded the removal of landmarks and memorials to the Founding Fathers, beginning with Washington and Jefferson. Statues are to be torn down, streets renamed, and public reminders of the patriots of 1776 must be removed out of respect for those who “might be oﬀended” by their presence.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” —Hosea 4:6
CNN’s Angela Rye made this astonishing claim:
“We have to get to the heart of the problem here. The heart is the way many of us were taught American history… George Washington was a slave owner…. He wasn’t protecting my freedoms… To me, I don’t care if it’s a George Washington statue or Thomas Jefferson, they all need to come down.”
Even memorials to President Abraham Lincoln were called into question. After all, the public was reminded that Lincoln advocated relocating slaves to Africa, his Emancipation Proclamation only applied to slaves in the Southern states, and he appointed a slave owner by the name of Ulysses S. Grant to lead his troops.
The assault on America’s national landmark treasures reminded some of the Egyptian protests of 2011 which led to the looting of numerous precious antiquities. For others, the mass destruction of monuments was likened to a Stalinist purge. Civil libertarian and attorney Allen Dershowitz advised:
“The idea of willy-nilly going through and doing what Stalin did: just erasing history and re-writing it to serve current purposes, does pose a danger, and it poses a danger of educational malpractice, of missing opportunities to educate people…”
In the wake of “The June Purge,” many Americans are left with a deep sense of loss, but confused about what can be done. They are troubled. Troubled by the assault on the landmarks to their liberties. Troubled by leaders who are more afraid of the mob than their duties. Troubled by what to say to their children. Troubled by how to defend their history against the hatred.
If you are among those Americans, stay close to us at this time. Pray with us. Walk with us. Study with us.
We are arming the next generation of children with a winning apologetic—potent arguments to answer the critics. We will be taking families to important locations where the providence of God in our history was demonstrated with power. Why? So that our children will love liberty in their hearts, thank God with their lips, and never be ashamed to say:
“O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.” —Psalm 44:1
With the recent Supreme Court hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, we hearken back to early American history and the more recent case of Clarence Thomas, where we see emotionally driven testimony lacking the support of factual evidence.
In the example of John Adams, some of the most powerful men in Boston opposed his case. On behalf of the accused British soldiers, he faced off against John Hancock, Sam Adams and Joseph Warren, as well as the wholly partisan press, and the visual media — illustrated by the popular and respected Paul Revere, who represented the mob as “victims.”
Adams knew that the presumption of innocence was at stake when he uttered the above powerful words — as apropos today as in 1770.
On our history tour of Boston we stand on the spot where British soldiers were pelted with rocks and ice and, fearing for their lives, fired in self-defense. Or was it revenge for verbal abuse suffered over the previous months? Smoldering anti-British sentiment ignited into blind emotional hatred. Against a tidal wave of public opinion, Adams built his case on facts and evidence, arguing that the innocent should be protected at all costs or the law would cease to have meaning. He won his case, but this timeless principle must be defended in every generation.
God’s Remedy for Bearing False Witness
“If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.” —Deuteronomy 19:16-19, ESV
Unhappy Boston! see thy Sons deplore,
Thy hallow’d Walks besmear’d with guiltless Gore:
While faithless P—n and his savage Bands,
With murd’rous Rancour stretch their bloody Hands;
Like fierce Barbarians grinning o’er their Prey,
Approve the Carnage and enjoy the Day.
—Excerpt from above image engraved, printed
and published by Paul Revere, 1770 Boston
ew words convey a more evocative negative image than “massacre.” We know how it makes us feel in our own day — it has always been thus. When American Indians won a battle against the cavalry or settlers, it was always deemed a massacre. When the troops won, it was a “hard-fought victory.” The marketing of a battle by the government or the mass media manipulates the outcome on the home front and often demonizes the enemy. On March 5, 1770, a street riot in which British soldiers defended themselves with deadly force was instantly trumpeted throughout the colonies as “The Boston Massacre,” a name the event still retains. The “patriots” won the propaganda battle.
The Old Massachusetts State House then and now —
We will visit a memorial to the conflict here in front of the Old State House as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!
The mere presence of Redcoated soldiers in the city continued to provide insult and provocation to the people of Boston, especially the element agitating for their removal and a restoration of the American rights of self-taxation and non-interference in trade. On a cold night filled with ice and snow, numbers of Bostonian men young and old were in the streets, some responding to a fire alarm, others just throwing snowballs and looking for trouble. An English sentinel came under attack and “called for backup.” An unruly gang began to pelt both him and his comrades with ice and snow, and some claimed, rocks and brickbats.
An 1856 depiction of the Boston Massacre by William L. Champey — Learn about the Boston Massacre and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!
The soldiers backed off until cornered and then fired their muskets. The subsequent blood in the snow created a sensation across the colonies, and five years later would again be brought up as a reason for separation from England. The site today is a mere plaque on a wall along the Freedom Trail in Boston.
Join us as we visit the site of the Boston massacre and imagine the tragic incidents of that night long ago that still lives in the memories of a nation, even as it stimulated our ancestors to further resistance and the creation of a Republic. By the way, John Adams defended the soldiers in a Boston courtroom and won the case against the mob. Street riot, unprovoked attack, self-defense, massacre?
One if by land, and two if by sea
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.
— Excerpt from Paul Revere’s Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
ld North Church in Boston possessed a towering steeple that could be seen from across the river in Charles Town. As an Anglican Church in Congregationalist Boston, the congregation often contained British soldiers on occupation duty in the town. The members themselves were divided over the appropriate level of resistance to “Royal tyranny.” One of the key leaders of the rebellion was the local silversmith and man-about-town, Paul Revere, and he set up both a network of spies, and a plan to notify the countryside in case the redcoats made an aggressive move in that direction. The steeple of Old North would serve as a beacon, though only for one important minute in the history of the world.
Paul Revere riding to “… spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
That minute arrived on the evening of April 18, 1775. Three sworn patriots — the church sexton Robert Newman, Captain John Pulling, and Thomas Bernard — sprang into action that evening, carrying two lanterns to the steeple windows to send the twin lights across the water to the riders. The pre-arranged signal called for one lit lantern if the troops moved across Boston Neck and the Great Bridge and two if they chose an amphibious landing farther up river. In either case, the signal would trigger riders on the Charles Town side of the river to gallop into the countryside and raise the alarm.
Tour the home of Paul Revere, visit Old North Church, and see the historical sites along Boston’s Freedom Trail — this and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!
The two lanterns were lit and off the riders went toward Lexington and dozens of other small towns to warn of the enemy’s approach. Not one to delegate all the risk to others, Revere bolted for Lexington, a feat that every school child in the United States would remember after it was immortalized a hundred years later in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. William Dawes, a local tanner and a member of the militia made that same midnight ride and with as much gusto and risk as Revere, and he was joined by others as the night wore on. It is too late for “the midnight ride of William Dawes” but the effect was the same. The militias formed and the “Lexington Alarm” produced “the shot heard round the world.”
Visit Lexington and Concord — site of the famous ’shot heard round the world” and charge over Old Concord Bridge — this and much more as part of our Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims Tour in Boston and Plymouth November 14-18!
Join Landmark Events as we walk in the paths of Revere and Dawes, gaze across to Charles Town, look up at the Old North steeple (the third one erected since then) and wonder how history would have changed had a couple faithful men decided to sleep in when the times called for action!
Heroism and self-sacrifice are often exhibited in battle, but it was in the aftermath of the battle of Franklin, Tennessee that one woman’s selflessness became legendary. The impression of Carrie McGavock’s unflinching kindness and the services she rendered lingered long in the memory of both those she served and the entire South.
The number of wounded that were left behind after the battle to be cared for by the citizens of that small town was staggering. The homes of overwhelmed civilians were crowded to overflowing with Confederate soldiers, hastily attended to by too few doctors equipped with inadequate supplies.
Carnton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery
The largest of these field-hospitals was Carnton Plantation, the home of Carrie McGavock. This young mother’s tireless efforts to comfort and calm the soldiers whose shattered bodies filled her home were never forgotten by them.
Accounts written by the survivors of that horrible time are full of gratitude and reverence for the woman who cared for them as if they were her own.
The last of these wounded men would not leave her home until the following year. By that time, Carrie McGavock and her husband, John had taken upon themselves yet another momentous duty.
Offering a portion of their own land, the McGavocks initiated and oversaw the identifying and reinterring of nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers previously buried in mass graves.
Carrie McGavock was committed to identifying and honoring these brave men whose relations had previously been in ignorance of their fate. In a ponderous ledger, she meticulously recorded their names, possessions and final places of burial.
From 1866 until her death in 1905, she cheerfully welcomed a flood of visitors who came in hopes of finding the grave of a loved one they had not heard of since before the battle. Her dedication to preserving the memory of these fallen sons of the Confederacy earned her the nickname “The Widow of the South.”
The Civil War in the West tour is one of the most interesting and inspiring tours we host, full of remarkable providences and colorful characters including Private Tod Carter, John Bell Hood, Patrick Cleburne and many others. Come walk the battlefields and tour the homes that still bear the marks of war with Landmark Events historian Bill Potter and Sam Turley March 16-17 in Franklin and Nashville, TN.