Letters to the Editor

Camp Nelson’s heritage has power to heal, worthy of monument status

A cannon sits in front of the restored “White House,” the officers’ quarters at Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County.
A cannon sits in front of the restored “White House,” the officers’ quarters at Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

I would like to thank the Lexington Herald-Leader for highlighting the effort to designate Camp Nelson Heritage Park as a national monument.

Camp Nelson was the site of the third-largest recruitment and training center for African-American troops during the Civil War and assisted many in fleeing the bondage of slavery. It stands as the best-preserved monument to the bravery of these participants.

I applaud the efforts and advocacy of Rep. Andy Barr, who introduced legislation to include Camp Nelson for study as a national park.

However, the president can also use the Antiquities Act to name a property that is deserving of a national monument designation. This designation would increase economic opportunity in the region.

Local African-American leaders and local business, education and government are all supportive of this project. In addition, Barr has secured the support of the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Today’s dialogue is very divisive. This designation would spotlight the positive, a signal that we are ready to focus on what unites us and what heals us. As one Civil War writer put it, it appeals to “the better angels of our nature.”

David West

County Judge Executive

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