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Tomlinson: Don’t erase history, remember figures like Charles Carroll, Francis Scott Key for all their deeds l COMMENTARY

Rather than celebrate America’s 244th birthday this past Saturday, domestic terrorists ignored the democratic process and unlawfully demolished a statue that paid tribute to Christopher Columbus for over 30 years.

Back on June 21, an anti-police organization in Baltimore City, Baltimore Bloc, issued a threat on Twitter to Mayor Jack Young. “We don’t think these Columbus monuments have much time left anymore. 72 hours sounds like plenty of time for y’all to take them down. Can’t guarantee they’ll still be standing after that.” 

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In response to this intimidation by tweet, Republican legislators banded together on June 26 in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood to defend Baltimore’s monuments honoring Christopher Columbus. Dels. Nino Mangione & Kathy Szeliga and State Sen. Johnny Salling called on the mayor to protect these iconic memorials from being vandalized or destroyed.

There are three stone edifices honoring the Italian navigator who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 leading to the first permanent European settlements in the Americas. The Columbus Obelisk, now located in Herring Run Park, erected in 1792, was the first of its kind in America. The Columbus Statue in Druid Hill Park, erected in 1892, depicts a likeness of the explorer standing with his hand on a globe. Finally, the Christopher Columbus Monument at Eastern Ave and President Street, facing East from whence he came, was dedicated by Mayor William Donald Schaefer and President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

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During the press conference, Delegate Mangione made it clear, “If you do not like or appreciate Christopher Columbus, don’t visit this statue. Stay the hell away from it.” Not denying that Columbus had his flaws, Delegate Szeliga told the press that day, “He wasn’t perfect. No man is perfect, and no government is perfect. But we are to celebrate men and women, warts and all.”

Columbus is a controversial figure for some. Like him or not, his voyages paved the wave for European exploration and permanent colonization in the Americas. After the destruction that occurred on Saturday night, what comes next? Will our nation’s capital, the Columbia river, and the countless cities and counties named after Columbus be forced to change their names as well?

At the hotbed of leftism, Towson University, a committee is currently deciding on whether to rename Carroll Hall, an on-campus student residence named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, because like many wealthy men at the time, he owned slaves. 

As a founding father of the United States, Carroll was one of Maryland’s first U.S. Senators and holds the distinctions of being the only Catholic signer, and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. As the richest man in America, he put his wealth and life on the line by signing the Declaration. To distinguish himself from his relatives, he signed his name “Of Carrollton” so that his family would not be accidentally held responsible for his actions. More importantly, Carroll County was named after Charles Carroll.

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Carroll was a man among men and now we want all record of existence to vanish. If Towson decides to erase Carroll’s name, what follows? Will the same people demanding that Carroll Hall be renamed, then come for Carroll County? 

Last month, in the progressive enclave of San Francisco, a statue of Francis Scott Key was toppled. Key is most famous for authoring our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the War of 1812 after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the Baltimore Harbor. Key would go on to serve as a United States District Attorney and advisor to President Andrew Jackson. Key was born and raised on his family’s estate, Terra Rubra, in what is present day northwestern Carroll County. Francis Scott Key High School is named after Key and the small rural communities of Keymar and Keysville are named after the Key family. 

And why is Key’s statue being torn down and destroyed? Once again — because he owned slaves, like most wealthy Americans at the time. When can we expect an angry mob to show up and demand that we expunge any mention of Francis Scott Key from Carroll County? 

Slavery is a horrible stain on the historical fabric of our Republic. However, those who contributed so much to building our nation should be remembered for all their deeds, good and evil. Memorials to them are historical artifacts and should be preserved to teach lessons about both virtue and vice to all Americans. Those who would erase part of history usually are not satisfied until they erase all of history and replace it with their chosen ideology, and history shows that often leads to the violent erasure of folks that remember history.

Christopher Tomlinson, a member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, writes from Melrose. HIs column appears every other Monday. Email him at CCTtomlinson@gmail.com.

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