Return the plaques to Oak Bluffs


To the Editor:

Surely the Oak Bluffs selectmen have good intentions concerning the Civil War monument, but their actions are misguided, and I can’t let the matter rest. What has been written about Confederate soldiers lately has my ancestors spinning in their graves. 

What I find missing from arguments supporting the proposal from the NAACP’s Martha’s Vineyard Chapter is acknowledgment that in 1865, the Confederate Army surrendered, and the two armies decided to choose peace. The Confederacy was stopped dead in its tracks. The Union was preserved; the South did not rise again; slavery did not make a comeback. It was by mutual agreement, and both sides kept their word. So in 1891, veteran soldiers, Union and Confederate, marked 25 years of peace with a monument. 

Peace after war means a soldier can lay down his weapon. And he can shed his uniform that, by design, obscures differences among an army of men. With peace, veterans of the Civil War were at long last free to mourn the loss of 600,000 fellow Americans, and begin to restore their personal identities. For Charles Strahan, it was as a coffee broker and newspaper editor. Still, veterans know, better than most, that peace is not the end to hatred and our human desire to see the world as us and them, friend and foe. It requires a concerted effort at peacemaking to endure. 

If veterans who wore blue jackets say veterans who wore gray jackets are worthy of honor, that’s good enough for me. The Bible goes further to say, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” By a soldier’s monument, Civil War veterans have sent us a message of peace, and in this our era of endless wars, it gives me hope. 

That’s my opinion, and I trust I speak for my 19th century kinfolk, German immigrants who provided for their families with subsistence farms in Texas and Arkansas. What message does the town of Oak Bluffs mean to send, that public speech will be censored if we don’t share your opinion? Let’s put the plaques back where they belong.


Jean Cargill
Oak Bluffs


  1. How is public speech censored when the plaques are on display? Honestly, more people will probably read them now than ever did where they were.

  2. Jean you have more supporters than you could possibly imagine on the island but we do not publicly demand, threaten lost of $$$, scream racists and promise protests and demonstrations at our Statue in August if we dont get our way to leave our historical Statue ALONE!!
    Now the plaques after being stored at the DPW for over a month are displayed in the Barn (which by the looks of the pictures is not even winterized) at the MV Museum and it tough to even find when asked where they are!

    • Jean, in 3 words: Jim Crow laws.

      Tisbury Native: Why don’t you respect people of color? They’re Americans.

      • New Englander: FYI, one of my grandfathers is 100% African American, raised in OB, buried in OB not far from my families plot in OB.
        My other grandfather is 100% French Canadian after WW! came to Edgartown had several children and is buried in Edgartown.
        With all due respect You figure the rest.

        • Let’s try again. My paternal grandfather died within days of my 15th birthday. I never met the man, my dad says I didn’t miss anything. Turns out my grandmother was an “alleged” victim of spousal abuse. I don’t hold that against other husbands or grandfathers.

          I asked the question without knowledge of your family tree. If one of my grandfathers were African American, how his existence affects my current outlook would depend on two things: the official family version and based on your experiences.

          I’ve my experiences, they’re not yours. Excusing with “It’s personal” is fine because it is. I support having the plaques easier to find in the museum, but not the front door entrance.

        • Re-asking the question. Why don’t you respect people of color?
          To bring your family tree into this suggests at least two possibilities.

          1) You are fine with people of color, in which case you should honor their request and support removing the plaques.

          2) “I know a Black person.” Okay, fine. But given the flow of this discussion, why you said it now needs explaining.

    • Tis native– I find your comment a little odd– You say the plaques “are displayed in the Barn (which by the looks of the pictures is not even winterized) ” Are you concerned the plaques will get cold in the winter ?
      Also, since you are referencing pictures of the space, thet would imply nthat you have not been there, or you would know. Given that, how do you know “it tough to even find when asked where they are!” ?
      I know this is a direct question– feel free to deflect it.

      • I was actually told by somebody that was `Suppose to be on the Committee and was not”. They went there and asked where the plaques were after reading about it in the paper. They were told in the back in the Barn. They said it was hard to find when they went to look for them. “Satisfied”?

  3. Honestly, the most compelling reason to leave the plaques up were the extremely obnoxious economic threats made by summer visitors.
    Aside from that, the plaques belong in a museum, where interested parties can go check them out. This isn’t a big deal, and if defenders of military history want to feel offended, look to the veteran-trashing draft-dodger in the White House. Plenty of low-hanging fruit getting tweeted out of there every day.

  4. Mack, who was a biggest / worst draft dodger our America loving President Trump or your still wonderful Clinton?
    Clinton hated our military big time, lied big time to avoid the draft and he was a terrible womanizer even right inside our Oval Office then becoming infamous for chasing younger girls around the Oval office especially ones in “Blue Dresses”.
    How some blatantly always give those with a`D` following their name a huge big pass with everything.

    • What relevance does your post have to returning the plaques to OB? Why mention Clinton or trump at all?

  5. Ps…. As I said Clinton hated our military, under our President Trump every one of us veterans have benefited from his love of us and our country, he only trashed one veteran and he was a Rino and who was no friend to his fellow veterans all his years as a senator. Even our new neighbor Kerry `D` hated veterans his entire career while holding all his official government positions.

    • Tis native— I am a vet– I got nothing from trump. I did however hear him bragging about how he got active military personel a 10 % raise, and their first in 20 years… of course it was all a lie, but perhaps this is what you are thinking of ?
      Clinton, by the way, got a college deferment on his way to being a Rhodes scholar, and when that ended , he had a draft # of 311 and was never called. How does that compare to the son of a corrupt billionaire, who bought a doctor to claim a fictitious ailment ?

    • John Kerry, the one with a silver star, bronze star and three purple hearts hates veterans?!?! That must be some good kool aide.

      • Do some research about all those awards that are fake. Ask the men who served with Mr. John “Hanoi” Kerry our new neighbor!
        3 people hearts that none even needed a tiny band-aid! Silver star and Bronze stars were fake citations. Plus didnt he throw those fake ribbons over the White House fence?
        Put down the kool-aide and do some research.

        • Wow, you must be so proud of your education to share your knowledge to us, thanks, now please put down the sharp knifes.

        • tis native– this whole swift boat story about John kerry was brought up during a campaign where one presidential candidate was awol and allegedly doing a fair amount of illicit drugs while serving out his ‘service” during the Viet-Nam conflict. Who the f- are you to sit there behind your anonymous computer and criticize a man who volunteered to be on the river boats patrolling the Mekong delta? To criticize him for not getting killed is truly the most disgusting thing you have ever posted here. Do you have any idea what it is like to be in combat ? — I am sure you don’t. Not much goes on in mom’s basement , right ? Sometimes the video game is real– He earned those citations, and took a moral stand against the war. you think you are a “patriot” when you criticize a true war hero, because he took a stand against an unjust war. How dare you call such a man “Hanoi Kerry”. perhaps if you are all so gung ho about America’s military power, you should sign up and kick some Iranian butt– perhaps you can feel what it’s like to have a bullet only graze you — you could actually get one of those medals,and do whatever you want with it– how about it ? You could strut all around with your well deserved medal stuck on your chest, and have people criticize you for not dying for your country.. perhaps than you might know what you are talking about. Kool aid indeed.
          I’m a veteran of that era, and I am totally disgusted by your comment here–

          • Bone-spur, draft-dodging Trump himself denigrates and lies about vets and war heroes like McCain. And Gold Star parents, too, so it’s no surprise that those who have fallen for Trump’s lies repeat his lies, even those like Tisbury Native who says he’s a vet. In today’s news there’s an article about a police officer posting on his Facebook page that AOC “deserves a round” for saying America is garbage— which of course she never said. The news article says the threatening police officer was “duped” by reading false reports, as if that excuses his disgusting threat. Looks like half the country, including vets like Tisbury Native have been DUPED by the liar in the White House and all his spineless supporters who promote such disgusting lies that demean all Americans.

          • DDD12 says, ~~ “Do you have any idea what it is like to be in combat ? — I am sure you don’t”.
            DDD12 – I will be much more civilized in my reply to you ==>> *YES* I definitely do have some idea what it is like to be in Combat!
            I served my entire tour with the Marines *0311* – Lima 3/5 1st Mar Div in I-Corps in Vietnam, nicknamed “Dark Horse”.

            PLUS while in Vietnam 99% of the time I was on patrol living in the bush in free-fire zones keeping the NVA & VC from over running Da Nang when John Kerry was in front of congress (April 1971) along with his fake fellow veterans lying under oath that we were raping, killing innocent civilians women & children and burning down their villages every day and in the morning before breakfast.
            In fact we uncovered `several` buried caches of medical supplies – bandages, morphine etc) sent to the NVA & VC from the students of Berkeley University that in CA for your information.
            We came home to a totally ungrateful nation (Me, June 3, 1971) and partly due to John Kerry, we had to pay extra $$ to fly home not in uniform so all the protesters at the airports would not gang up on us and make a big scene. Our wounded were told to say that they were in car accidents, etc! Our amputees and burned vets really had to stretch it!
            YOU are the one that IF you are really a vet spent the entire time in the Air force stateside.

            Thanks George for allowing people to comment anonymously.
            So many I really dont want to meet in person!

          • dondondon12 ~~~ ” I’m a veteran of that era, and I am totally disgusted by your comment here– ”
            dondondon12 ~~~ PLEASE Do Tell Us Of Your Military Experience And Your Qualifications to Comment On Veterans Issues.!!

        • Tis: What does the US involvement in Vietnam have to do with the Civil War and racism in America? Relevance?

          • Tis: Then I’ll start. Males of color were more likely to be drafted than the sons of wealthy white Americans. Besides those two reasons, any relevance?

        • tis native– i am Don Keller — i live in Vineyard Haven — I have said that many times– My e mail address is dk don don don @ gmail .com
          I served– i am a veteran . I am also a citizen of this country. As a citizen . I am qualified to criticize your partisan belittlement of a true military hero.
          He was at least as much of a hero to me for throwing his medals over the fence to protest an illegitimate and unwinnable war. In my opinion, he helped stop the slaughter of American children and Vietnamese civilians.
          Ok, you say you served in combat situations– great, I’m happy you didn’t die– but , you should know better than to criticize someone who went through hell for this country because he opposed the war.
          I , by the way, had a pretty cushy tour of duty– I served on the USS Little Rock 1971-73. We went to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and northern Europe.

  6. I’ve got no quarrel with your criticism of Bill Clinton. I’m no fan of his, and I didn’t memtion him in my post, because his presidency ended nearly two decades ago.
    It’s people like you who keep the Clinton flame burning bright. Interesting.

    • Mack– tis native is using the tried and true “SQUIRREL” technique.
      It gives her cover to not address the issue.

  7. pretty sure those plaques used to be outside, you know, on a statue. Why would it matter if they’re in a space that’s not winterized?

  8. The editor needs to MakeTheMVTimesGreatAgain & control the comment section. I comment based on my experience & 3rd rate satire. The comments that serve no legitimate purpose and are off-topic should be screened out. They inspire more division. This forum should be a discussion portal of understanding. People should be encouraged to express their views. This forum has developed into a binary choice of two firm sides. Very sad. Life isn’t that simple…listen to others.

    • Not binary. When we observe a different perspective, we give the other space to work it and give the respect not to step on their lines. And we take notes.

        • Everyone has an opinion, that was yours. I’ve been on this planet long enough to expect and welcome different perspectives. Give it a try.

  9. Paul — on July 20 at 7:16 pm, you posted “That’s all folks…Rodney Dangerfield signing off. Have a nice summer…” when commenting on an editorial about trump’s racism. I guess you really didn’t mean it ? I listened to what you said, and thought you were gone for the summer, yet here you are , berating the Times once again Your words seem to matter little to even you.
    Why would I listen to what you say from this point forward ?

  10. ummm…..about those plaques? I am with Jean — I wish they would be returned because from what seems to be historically accurate they were given in a shared way between former foes, now recognized fellow countrymen that they were united in their shared reverence for peace, country and equality — and perhaps regret at the senseless tragic and horrific cost of human life — for what should be so obvious — all were created free and equal — be good if this dialogue could reflect a bit of that same enlightenment.

    • The war ended 1865, the statue erected 1891, the plaques added 1925.

      Emancipation Proclamation 1853, Fifteenth Amendment (vote for males) 1870, Nineteenth Amendment (vote for women) 1920, Voting Rights Act 1965.

      My question is when did those mounting the plaques ask citizens, former slaves and their descendants, whether the chasm was closed? Whose chasm?

  11. Re-asking ~~ dondondon12 ~~~ PLEASE Do Tell Us Of Your Military Experience And Your Qualifications to Comment On Veterans Issues.!!

  12. Let the plaques rest where they remain for now and give the story some rest. I just didn’t want to see parts start flying off the statute until we were left a one-legged soldier with no arms.

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