A Fox & Friends co-host on Monday morning equated the memorials for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack with monuments honoring the Confederacy.
During an interview with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked whether Zinke thought Americans of the future would view 9/11 memorials as a stain on America’s past, unworthy of public displays of commemoration.
“Do you worry, 100 years from now, someone’s going to try to take that memorial down?” Kilmeade asked in reference to the Flight 93 National Memorial, which Zinke was visiting for the 16th annual remembrance ceremony. “Like they’re trying to remake our memorials today?”
Fox: "Do you worry 100 years from now somebody's gonna take that [9-11] memorial down like they're trying to remake our memorials today?" pic.twitter.com/KsB1jl7rxl
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) September 11, 2017
Kilmeade’s question alludes to the ongoing controversy over Confederate monuments, of which there are more than 700 across the United States. Following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a “Unite the Right” rally organized in opposition to the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, several cities have removed their Confederate monuments. In other instances, protesters tore them down.
The debate over whether to keep these celebratory symbols of America’s brutally racist past exposed another fissure in the electorate, with unnumbered conservatives arguing that they should remain while liberals are largely in favor of their removal. The controversy grew more heated after President Donald Trump repeatedly voiced his opposition to the removal of Confederate monuments, which he characterized as “beautiful.”
Zinke placed himself in Trump’s camp while largely ignoring Kilmeade’s leading question.
“Well, I’m one that believes that we should learn from history, and I think our monuments are part of our country’s history. We can learn from it,” Zinke said. “Since we don’t put of statues of Jesus, everyone’s going fall morally short. And I think reflecting on our history, both good and bad, is a powerful statement and part of our DNA.”
Many Confederate monuments and symbols, which honor the figures of America’s Civil War who fought to maintain slavery, were erected in the first half of the 20th century in response to laws meant to combat racial inequality. In contrast, 9/11 memorials were erected to remember the 2,996 people who died in the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.
If America of 2017 doesn’t see the difference, then we are likely to repeat history.