Kentucky has a rich and historic past. It is the birthplace of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln, two figures who would lead the country through one of the most contentious periods of our history.
People from all over our nation and the world come to see statues of these native sons in the Capitol Rotunda. They come to experience and understand this history, not to pay allegiance. There are few, if any, places that this history is so well displayed, with dignity and distinction.
Each of these men was an American, first and last. That should never be forgotten and replaced with a single idea.
No one person in the history of the United States is more directly identified with the Confederacy and slavery than Jefferson Davis.
As a descendant, much of my life has been attached to reaching for an understanding of the president of the Confederate States of America and his relation to our country's history.
The statue represents the entirety of this individual's life and should not become a symbol that divides our country.
The latest catastrophic event, by an individual who supports the Confederate battle flag, has opened an assault on every statue and monument to Davis.
I have seen this flag and his presidency used to represent his entire historical perspective. Yet it is tied to the one sentence in every history book stating his election as president of the Confederacy.
Forgotten are the first 52 years of his life as an American patriot: West Point, the U.S. Army, the U.S. House, secretary of war and the U.S. Senate.
Forgotten and ignored are the two wars in which he fought, along with his many great accomplishments for this country. As you look at the Capitol of the United States, the Smithsonian and the transcontinental railroads, few know the impact Davis had on making these what they are today.
All this history has been replaced to instead focus on him as president of the Confederacy and its ties to the battle flag.
After the war Davis preached that we have one country and should focus on making it that which God intended. History cannot be erased, it must be remembered and told with fact and truth. Symbols currently used to create fear or mistrust have no good purpose in this day and time.
The time for division is over and we must all come together for the future unity of this country. Jefferson Davis is an historic and significant part of our history. Let the statue reflect these accomplishments and not focus on only four years of an 81-year life.
Kentucky is the birthplace of two great Americans and leaders. Use this as an opportunity to educate about all history, both good and bad, and not eliminate all except that which comes from association with one symbol.