Confederate monuments here to stay in Gettysburg

Written by Dustin B. Levy/Hanover Evening Sun | Aug 16, 2017 7:17 AM

A monument to the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment stands on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The 11th fought in the infamous Pickett's Charge on July 3, 1863. Jeremiah Gage, a 23-year-old private in the 11th, was struck by a shell fragment during the engagement and was mortally wounded. Gage wrote a final letter to his mother and sisters as he lay dying on the battlefield, covering the document with his own blood. (Photo: Dan Rainville, The Evening Sun)

(Gettysburg) -- Despite national discourse on the appropriateness of Confederate monuments, the ones in Gettysburg are not going anywhere, according to park officials.

The movement to take down monuments honoring figures from the Confederacy came to a boil on Saturday when three people died in Charlottesville, Va., during a white supremacist rally to protest plans to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A man plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters with his car, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people. Two state troopers died when their helicopter crashed as they were monitoring events.

Debates like the one in Charlottesville are not expected to come to the Gettysburg battlefield.

The Gettysburg National Military Park, which memorializes soldiers who fought and died during the Battle of Gettysburg, including men who served in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, has not received any complaints or requests related to the monuments, said Katie Lawhon, park spokeswoman.

"These memorials, erected predominantly in the early and mid-20th century, are an important part of the cultural landscape," Lawhon said in an email.

More than 1,325 monuments, markers and plaques reflect how the 1863 clash has been remembered by different generations of Americans.

The National Park Service is committed to safeguarding the site-specific monuments in perpetuity, she added.

The park's mission also includes interpreting the actions, motivations and causes of the soldiers and states memorialized on the battlefield, Lawhon stated.

The Lee statue at the center of the Charlottesville controversy is in a public park called Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park, part of the Virginia Civil War Trails, according to the city of Charlottesville website. The monument was erected in 1924 based on the vision of Paul McIntire, a benefactor of the city who purchased the park land in 1917 as a memorial to his parents.

The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the Lee statue from Emancipation Park. A court injunction has put the statue's removal on hold until a November hearing.


This article is part of a partnership between WITF and the Hanover Evening Sun.

Published in Adams County, News

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