BERRYVILLE — Don't kill the soldier!

That was the overwhelming sentiment expressed during a public forum Thursday night at Clarke County High School to hear opinions on what, if anything, should happen to a controversial Confederate monument.

More than 100 people attended the forum, although they seemed to fill only about one-third of the high school's auditorium.

The landmark, titled "Appomattox," is in front of the Clarke County Courthouse on North Church Street in downtown Berryville. Erected in 1900, it honors approximately 100 fallen Civil War soldiers from the county whose names are inscribed on its base. Atop it is a statue of an unnamed, unarmed soldier.

Controversy surrounding the monument stems from the premise that the Civil War was fought over support by the South for continuing slavery. Some of the 30-plus speakers at the hearing disputed the notion.

Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Boyce, called the monument "a symbol of a great wrong." Still, it means different things to different people, she asserted.

But "the record is clear" as to why the monument was erected, said Paul Clark of Arlington, adding he's a descendant of some of the soldiers whose names are listed. "It's a tribute to the people of Clarke County."

"It's a monument in memory of the men who died," said Charles Snead of Boyce, and "who protected their homes and families" from Union troops.

"Their state was invaded," said Jesse Evans of Winchester, "and they were protecting it."

"They're all American veterans," just like those buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Clark emphasized.

David Williams of Berryville added that "their bravery (in fighting) deserves to be recognized."

Snead contended that the war largely wasn't fought over slavery, but rather the North wanting access to the South's grain supply and ports.

Long before the monument was installed, the United States pardoned Confederate soldiers, said county resident Gloryanne McGlynn.

Nobody at the hearing called for the monument to be destroyed. But rather than remaining outside a public building, some speakers said, the monument should be moved to another location, such as a cemetery where soldiers are buried.

"That's a memorial to fallen ancestors," said Ross Oldham of Paris Mountain, who originally suggested to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors that the monument be moved. Therefore, it would be more appropriate at a cemetery or battlefield, he said.

The lone African-American to speak during the forum, Kenneth Liggins, simply said he favors moving the monument to a cemetery.

Most speakers voiced support for keeping the monument where it is. They said it's an important reminder of unfortunate history that can't be changed. Some recommended adding signs interpreting its history as well as that of the Confederate era.

Carl Tomlin of Fredericksburg mentioned he has ancestors from Clarke County who fought in the war. He said the monument could be used as a tool to encourage conversation about history and its effects on the nation.

"Without items of history, it's hard to learn from the past," said Clay Brumback of White Post. Learning from history is how people learn to deal with unfortunate circumstances, he said.

"We cannot judge history by today's standards, said Boyce resident Carol Coffelt. Removing the monument, she said, would be "a denial of the past and a waste of money."

Coffelt mentioned that she was "raised in Third World countries where speaking out against the government could get you killed."

"History is history," county resident Lionel Chisholm said, noting he originally is from Canada. "By getting rid of it, you're accomplishing nothing."

"Nothing gives us the right to alter history," Williams said, "whether we like it or not."

Destroying or removing monuments, which has occurred in other places, is "depriving future generations of learning from mistakes of the past," said Berryville resident Andrew Surface.

"If we don't learn about our history, we're doomed to repeat it," said Richard Grubb, also of Berryville.

Mark Griffin, who recently made an unsuccessful bid for Berryville District seat on the Board of Supervisors, said that during discussions with voters while je was campaigning, only two mentioned the monument being a major concern to them. Both were in favor of keeping it outside the courthouse, he said.

Griffin said he favors keeping it there, too. However, "context (as to its historical significance) needs to be provided" to people viewing it, he said.

Made of granite, the monument and its statue is comprised of six separate parts, the largest of which weighs six tons, according to county architectural historian Maral Kalbian.

Trying to move the landmark could damage it, said Paul Little of White Post. Since it is more than a century old it might not be able to repaired enough to make it look like it does now, he reasoned.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

(59) comments

Sam

In response to Jesse Evans comments reported at the forum:

The Confederate dead are not equivalent to those buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Confederates fought to destroy the United States. The Arlington vets fought to defend and maintain the United States. The idea that they are the same is outrageous.

The Confederates fought bravely. Yes they did. So did the Germans, Japanese, Chinese, North Korean, and Viet Cong; and while we may occasionally lay a wreath to them, we don't build monuments to them in Court Square!

I wonder is Mr. Evans could tell us how many Confederate dead are buried at Arlington or any other National Cemetery?

Mr Incredible

Those of you commenting here and are transplants from Northern Va or other failed democrat states, raise your hand. Now, dismiss yourselves

Spock Here

My roots are here, fyi, and I wouldn't call NoVA a failed state....they do contribute more taxes to the state pot than you do Mr. Smartaleck, whose ignorance is "incredible."

Journey2goremtns1

@ john brown - I know who you are you're that greasy little troll bryan nuri. If not, you must be his greasy little brother...

Spock Here

Wow, gore must not have gotten his gun this week....seems a bit cranky

john brown

you truly are uninformed ... some would say ignorant...others would say stupid

john brown

i forgot ... now go buy another gun coward

Ken Kovach

All the confederate statues including Nixon/Agnew’s defacing of Stone Mountain in 1972, were erected by conservatives under the false pretense of “A History Memorial”. Changing these monuments in any positive way can send a thoughtful caring understanding message to people that have been suppressed for about 400 years. This change will happen someday, but not under the leadership of our Neanderthal thinkers.

Journey2goremtns1

@ john brown - you're such a pathetic socialist! You would complain if they hung you with a new rope!

john brown

define "socialist" gore .... after you cash your social security check or present your medicare card after driving on state/federal roads. you afre merely a gun nut, no more and probably less .... oh, and there are no mountains in gore, none. just hills

john brown

and the proper word to use here is "hang"....clothes are hung, people are hang... your schooling has really failed you in so many ways and your bigotry keeps you ignorant

Spock Here

Gore seems be be all foam, no beer.....

Journey2goremtns1

"Offended" ......

Journey2goremtns1

All this started over one complaint that the monument offender him. Forget the vast majority that support keeping the monument where it is. Forget the history. It must be nerve racking watching the little black kids running in fear when they look at the statue lol lol. It's funny that all this started when the militant Marxist group black lives matter and antifa showed up! Welcome to the Divided States of America. Buy a gun!

john brown

move it to the gore "mountains" ..... lol...and you good ole boys can use it for target with all those guns you cowards are buying

john brown

and that's Black Lives Matter to you and your ilk...lol

DiveDogs

Keep it where it has been for years.

Ken Kovach

Forty years after the first insurrection, proud boys on the wrong side of history, from Clarke County, got a monument built in their honor. I’m sure Jim Crow and the KKK supported it. Will Clarke County put up a monument in the future for their new proud boys that participated in Jan 6th Capitol insurrection?

we66

If the County takes action to gain possession then the stay or go question should be decided by a vote of the people of Clarke County. As of now the County is required to take legal action to own the statue and the ground it is on before anything can be done.

Jim McCarthy

Taking no action on a memorial that, today, represents systemic racism in front of the county courthouse where its presence is "in your face", speaks loudly to our collective failing. Recognition is the first step to resolving the views this statue incorporated in 1900 when Jim Crow laws were passed.

Old Western Man

Sad yet predictable malice and intolerance from some commentators who clearly didn’t care enough to attend the meeting.

To a man the men identified on this memorial have demonstrated by action, far greater human virtue than any of their 21st century moral preening critics.

The monument is simply a veterans war memorial honoring Clarke Co.’s sons who answered the call to duty of their Nation/State/Community, and gave their last full measure of devotion.

There is plenty of courthouse lawn for other memorials to other unrepresented American heroes. Certainly a positive and more productive endeavor in my view.

As communities weigh these fabricated “controversies”, they should remember that destruction is intolerance and can only divide.

john brown

so these are America's SS statues, nothing to be proud of ...

Doc Samson

Are you Jewish enough to draw that comparison?

john brown

I am human being enough

Spock Here

"Someone" does not know that Jews were not the only victims of "that regime"? In addition to six million Jews, more than five million non-Jews were murdered under that regime. Among them were Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, political opponents of the regime, including Communists and Social Democrats, dissenting clergy, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples, and many individuals from the artistic communities whose opinions and works "that man" condemned.This was consistent with the claim

passed down through Nordic legends that Germans were superior to all other groups and constituted a "master race" of blue eyed blondes in perfect health. One doesn't have to be "Jewish enough" to recognize wickedness.....right?

Doc Samson

Um, no... that's not how it works. According to you, a white male cannot speak to woman or black issues, yes? Unless you are Jewish, you can shut it...

Oh, wait... You're a Democrat! I'm sorry, you get to speak about any and everything, regardless of how little you actually know. My fault!

Doc Samson

"Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, political opponents of the regime, including Communists and Social Democrats, dissenting clergy, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, Slavic peoples, and many individuals from the artistic communities whose opinions and works "that man" condemned

Okay, so which of those is ol' jb??? Have to say, I'm impressed that you can "contribute" as much as you have here lately. Would've thought your boy, Cuomo, would be keeping you pretty busy...

Spock Here

😂😂🤣 "weekend one liners is us" 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️ The hot air expelled by "doc" could float a balloon around the world for 80 days or more....

john brown

I am all of them versus you white nationalists tRumpsters

Spock Here

Since SS statues are not allowed in Germany, how on earth did Germans ever learn about WW2? A book perhaps?

Doc Samson

Wha-wha-whatabout-ism, again... Got anything else? Notice that the lone African-American who spoke was okay with keeping the statue up, just moving it? Move along, Karen...

john brown

so move it.... to the dump or wherever.. should have never been in the public especially in front of a courthouse

Ken Kovach

👍👍

john brown

"It's a tribute to the people of Clarke County." ...... do you really think the black people of Clarke County consider this a tribute.

john brown

the lies about the war to continue enslaving black people were on full display in Berryville. these lies will continue as long as statues in support of those lies are left standing. Isn't this the area were a "leader" of the traitors who attacked the Capitol on Jan 6th came out of. what's next Berryville, a statue to caldwell and lies that proclaim him a "patriot".... Stop the lies and take these racist inspired statues down!

john brown

it's long past time to get rid of these racist relics.. the confeds were traitors and fought to hold human beings in slavery. absolutely nothing "honorable" about any of that. only modern day bigots could support these pieces of metal.

Mr Incredible

It's stone. Remember the saying about going full ret ard? Evidently not

Doc Samson

@Mr Incredible - Man, they wallow in that and strut around with their fake outrage and virtue signaling just like they imagine 2nd A folks do with their guns. Just another clear example of their projection. Funny that not one of these white Leftists seems to have noted that the only Black community member who was even interested in attending only said he thought it should be moved. And I wouldn't have a problem with that in the least...

Going full, what?

shinyhappypeople

Since he’s not likely to move, we should give him a name. Something befitting of the Berryville Lost Cause cryer. Goober McGruff comes to mind when i look at him, but i still need coffee. Clarke Griswald!!! That’s exactly what his name should be! Clarke Griswald, Berryville’s Lost Cause Goober! Finally, a name befitting this statue. (Not official yet...any other naming ideas are welcome😜)

john brown

name him caldwell, the locked up traitor from the January 6th coup. both were losing racist traitors

shinyhappypeople

Caldwell’s 2nd cousin, Barry Villen? Colonel Sanders? Whitey McGrievance? Uncle Tom’s Captor? Captain Shirley U. Jest? There must be something that captures the idiocy of glorifying the yokels of olden days who were traitors to our country, but for me this four ton joke with googly eyes shall be known as colonel Clarke Griswald, Lost Cause Goober of the county. Reign over thy citizenry, Clarke, and hold your head high. Heritage like this is hard to come by!

shinyhappypeople

Oh boy, the “don’t erase my history”crowd is already missing its mascot and he’s still there. What I’d forgotten in not having seen this statue in awhile is how utterly unimpressive it is. There’s an empty “aww shucks” look to him and the cross armed stance that now makes me laugh much more so than to be angry about it. Not sure if it’s meant to honor or menace, but it’s actually more of a giggle. Not a funny subject, but an awfully silly looking honorific.

anon

Geez. Really. In this county nothing surprises me anymore. How can anyone claim justice is equal when the Clarke County Courthouse has this monument in front of it. If it stays the county needs to make a statue of an African American family in bondage with scars beside it. I am an old white male and a former member of the Son of Confederate Veterans who is now a better Christian and sees the issue through clear eyes.. .

john brown

Thank you for your suggestion and insights....it's great to see we can all grow to be better people

slowe

The statue itself is not history - it represents the honor give to soldiers in the Confederacy which: illegally seceded to prevent the US government from outlawing slavery in the Southern States. The statue was erected to honor the rebellion and those traitors. It honors those who fought to preserve the system of slavery of Africans by white Christian Americans. It dishonors the United States soldiers which fought to put down the rebellion. It represents and honors white supremacy the slave owners and all who fought to preserve them. I represents and honors racism. It represents the history of an error, a mistake, an immoral and bad decision by the ancestors for which they should not be honored with a statue. It should be buried, face down in a cemetery and marked: “Here Lies the failed Confederacy here lies white supremacy, here lies Jim Crow. May they never rise again.”

Blondie

Oh, slowe, how we wish you were history. You rattle on about things you know nothing about. Please disappear.

J-ROSE

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

cfmaurer

Not history? Nonsense. Ugly history by today’s standards? Yep, but so is most of US history. So why not educate vice eradicate? Put up contextual signage that recognizes what this statue is, a memorial to dead local soldiers who fought valiantly for a cause we recognize today as fundamentally wrong. By the way, this recommendation basically paraphrases what General Grant said about Confederate soldiers in his memoirs.

john brown

and this is your lame answer to Mr. slowe thoughtful comments. we all wish the truth deniers would disappear. [thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdow

Jim McCarthy

Gee, Blondie, slowe's statement is well crafted. Perhaps you did not understand it. Read again.

Mich229

I would suggest reading some on the Confederacy and particularly the reconstruction period after the war (other thank Wikipedia). Lincoln was adamant about reconciliation and pardoning the south. He started the process before his unfortunate assassination (some have argued that this very action may have been the impetuous for it). In 1868 President Johnson commuted the final pardons, with some initial exceptions for senior officers and government officials. This, these men are not traitors. If you read history you will see that this is a common mode of reconciliation following wars, particularly civil wars, since without it division is nearly impossible to heal.

john brown

and yet we have still not healed. the leaders of these treasonous forces should have been hang but as you can read, white privilege has benn atound forever in this country.

Doc Samson

"and yet we have still not healed"

First of all, take a typing class and work on your grammar.

Second of all, why is that? What would it take for you to feel "healed" re: slavery?

Third of all, do you buy anything from China? What's that? You do? Well, kind of undercuts your fake outrage by more than a bit. Just sayin'...

Translation: I'm VERY angry about slavery... unless it inconveniences me or is happening to people I don't really care about... [wink]

john brown

thanks for the suggestion school marm.... the rest of your babble was predictable.. you really like answering your own questions... there is a psych diagnosis for that

john brown

these men were traitors... lee was a double traitor, to west point and the United States... he most definitely should have been hang along with davis and other traitors

john brown

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

john brown

[thumbup] in recognition of Mr.slowe's comments

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