The Smelting of Robert E. Lee

The New York Times has a fantastic opinion piece about the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Charlottesville, VA statue to the blast furnace. It's everything I wanted to see/read.

Opinion | The Most Controversial Statue in America Surrenders to the Furnace
Monuments to the Confederacy got emotionally rich ceremonies when they were installed. They deserve no less when they come down.

This is some brilliant writing. The lede:

Last Saturday in a small foundry, a man in heat-resistant attire pulled down his gold-plated visor, turned on his plasma torch and sliced into the face of Robert E. Lee. The hollow bronze head glowed green and purple as the flame burned through layers of patina and wax. Drops of molten red metal cascaded to the ground.


It took most of the morning for the foundry workers to cut the monument into pieces small enough to fit into the furnace. Acrid fumes penetrated the respirators we had been issued. When the foundryman finally turned off his torch and tapped at the head with a mallet, Lee’s face fell clattering to the floor.

Today, the non-profit Swords into Plowshares in Charlottesville is taking this smelted white-flag-waver and turning it into public art. A beautiful end.

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