Reconciliation at Hollywood Cemetery

Confederate Soldier Monument at TredegarI’ve been browsing Hollywood Cemetery’s website in preparation for tomorrow’s class trip and I am struck by the reconciliationist tone used to describe the various sites.  Consider the following brief description of the Confederate pyramid memorial, which was designed by Charles Dimmock and dedicated in 1869:

“Hollywood’s ninety foot granite pyramid, completed in 1869, is a monument to 18,000 Confederate enlisted men buried nearby.  They went into battle for what then seemed a noble cause of protecting their homes from northern aggression.  When the pryramid was erected, Southerns still called the war “The Lost Cause.”  Now we know that the cause was not a lost one.  These men’s lives, together with those of their norther counterparts, were given to forge a single and better nation. Their blood, shed in battle, gave birth to a new America, one that in another century would restore and protect freedom around the world.  Because so many whose sacrifice refined America lie here in Hollywood Cemetery’s sacred ground.”

I am going to quote the above passage tomorrow as part of my interpretation of this site to get at the continued influence of the Lost Cause and the overall theme of reconciliation in our collective memory of the war.

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2 comments… add one
  • John Jan 21, 2009 @ 23:08

    Hi Kevin,

    What a fascinating quote. Was the Civil War really necessary in order to get us to the point we reached yesterday with the inauguration of President Obama? I know that wasn’t the original intent of the pyramid. I also suspect that I may be overreaching a bit, but that was the first thought that came to mind when I read the quote. As with any new thought, or at least a new one to me, it will take a while for me to really process it. Thanks for the insight.


  • Brooks Simpson Jan 21, 2009 @ 19:50

    That’s just odd. We would resist the same wording at Kolmeshöhe Cemetery, near Bitburg, Germany, for example.

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