Remarks by Laura Price at the January 26, 2021 meeting:
What we are witnessing in this country is heartbreaking and totally unacceptable. I truly can’t believe that people are treating other human beings with such disrespect and contempt. Civil conversation and civil disagreements have been overtaken by uncivil discourse and protests masquerading as civil disobedience.
While I, and the citizens here in Talbot County can’t fix what is wrong in the whole country, we can come together and heal our community. Everyone has to be willing to learn to live with a middle ground. People on different sides may not like compromising and may feel so strongly that their opinion is right, that they are unwilling to give up until they get their way entirely. But that refusal to listen to each other solves nothing. Bullying, threatening, and especially personal attacks will only further divide us.
There is a way to portray accurately the past and to create unity in the present if people will do it.
People have asked why there was not a monument for the Union side. It was approved over 100 years ago at the same time as the monument for the Confederate side. No one ever raised the funds to build it.
Five years ago, in a work session, the NAACP, asked for a joint Civil War Monument, honoring all the soldiers, both Union and Confederate. No one ever raised the funds to build it.
About four years ago, Rich Merrill contacted council members individually with a concept sketch to create a Unity Monument with statues of both the Union and Confederate boys side by side, wrapped in a big American Flag. Things in the country were relatively quiet at the time and none of us pursued it.
Now we find ourselves in a time, where no one can even communicate with one another. There seems to be no point to having more meetings and work sessions, because no side is willing to compromise.
What I have had prepared, the administrative resolution that has not been introduced yet, proposes this Unity Monument. Something that preserves what is here and tells a more complete story of the Civil War history by building upon and not tearing down. People have been tearing each other down enough, it’s time to stop and bring Unity to our Community.
Talbot County Council
AN ADMINISTRATIVE RESOLUTION OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL FOR TALBOT COUNTY, MARYLAND, PROVIDING FOR THE COMPLETION AND CREATION OF A CIVIL WAR UNITY MONUMENT AND ESTABLISHING A FUND FOR ALL CITIZENS TO COME TOGETHER IN A JOINT EFFORT TO RECOGNIZE TALBOT COUNTY’S ROLE IN THE CIVIL WAR
WHEREAS, the County Council recognizes that Talbot County has a unique history related to the Civil War; and many citizens have expressed their desire to more completely tell the history of Talbot County and to remind us that families were split as the Civil War divided the community; and,
WHEREAS, for several years, the County Council has been approached by multiple groups to create a “Civil War Monument” which portrays and acknowledges all those who fought and died on both sides of the Civil War; and,
WHEREAS, the existing monument on the Talbot County Courthouse grounds only lists the Confederate soldiers from Talbot County who served in the Civil War; and,
WHEREAS, recognizing Talbot County as a place where people from many backgrounds come together to enjoy the County’s natural beauty, its history and the wealth of activities offered here, the County Council finds that the existing monument should be transformed by adding a Union soldier of similar size, style and design as the Confederate soldier, and listing the names of the Union soldiers from Talbot County who served in the Civil War; and,
WHEREAS, the County Council feels the most equitable solution to bring our community together is to complete the monument by building up and not tearing down, as it is important to preserve and expand our understanding of the history of Maryland and particularly of Talbot County during those years of conflict; and,
WHEREAS, following in the history that all existing monuments have been constructed with private donations, the County Council directs the Finance Office to create a restricted fund to receive private and/or grant contributions, allowing all those who want to donate a means to do so; and,
WHEREAS, the Maryland Historical Trust found that the monument is significant for its commemoration of those soldiers from Talbot County who served in the Civil War, and the County Council will have any new design presented and approved by the Easton Historic District Commission before any changes take place; and,
WHEREAS, the County Council is committed to continuing to tell the diverse history of Talbot County.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Council of Talbot County, Maryland, in an effort to more completely reflect the historical record and in order to move forward as a unified community, that the County Council shall augment the existing monument by adding a Union soldier adjacent to the existing Confederate soldier and by updating the base as follows:
- Recitals: The above recitals are hereby incorporated as if fully set forth.
- Modification of Existing Monument. The County Council supports augmenting the existing monument by adding a Union soldier of similar size, style and design as the Confederate soldier and listing the names of Union soldiers from Talbot County who fought in the Civil War, in a manner that will conform to any and all Civil War memorial standards.
- Placement of Monument. The augmented Civil War Monument, representing soldiers from the Confederate and Union armies will remain in its current location on the grounds of the Talbot County Courthouse.
- Funding of Expanded Civil War Monument. Funds will be solicited from citizens of Maryland and from the State of Maryland through grant applications.
- Design of the Expanded Civil War Monument. The County Council will issue a request for proposal (RFP), approve design of the Civil War Monument, and obtain estimates for the construction of the additions and changes to the existing monument.
- Schedule for Project Initiation. As soon as there are sufficient funds to complete the project, the County Council will authorize initiation of the project.
AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THIS RESOLUTION SHALL TAKE EFFECT IMMEDIATELY FROM THIS DATE HEREOF.
GIVEN UNDER OUR HANDS AND THE GREAT SEAL OF TALBOT COUNTY, THIS ___ DAY OF JANUARY, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY ONE
Susan Moran, Secretary
Chuck Callahan, President
Pete Lesher, Vice President