The fight over removing Florida’s oldest Civil War monument

Monument to Confederate Dead, Plaza de la Constitución, St. Augustine
St. Augustine has voted to remove it. Questions are when and how.

Three dozen descendants of fallen Confederate soldiers want a Florida city to hold off on removing a Confederate monument, worrying the historic relic might be damaged in the process, according to a lawsuit.

St. Augustine city commissioners voted last week to remove the monument, which is the oldest Civil War monument in the state. It also rests in an area designated as a national historic landmark. The 30-foot tall relic, which lists the names of fallen soldiers, was placed in Plaza de La Constitution in 1879.

The St. Augustine Record reported Monday that petitioners of the lawsuit fear the city can’t guarantee its safe removal and want the city to wait until the Historic Architectural Review Board can evaluate the removal process.

“This monument was a communal effort, public art, and social history. Ex-soldiers and politicians had a difficult time raising funds to erect monuments so the tax mostly fell to the women, the mothers, widows and orphans, the bereaved fiancees and sisters of the soldiers who had lost their lives,” the lawsuit stated.

St. Augustine officials declined comment, but said they can’t guarantee safety because of the difficulties preserving large, historic objects. The removal process can take weeks and cost more than $100,000, according to experts.

A judge recently dismissed a separate lawsuit seeking to stop the city from moving the monument at all, although petitioners said they planned to amend the suit and refile it.

The latest lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jill Pacetti and other descendants of men named on the memorial, the Veterans Council of St. Johns County and the Military Officers Association of America, Ancient City Chapter.

“We just feel like to bring the memorial down because of a race issue is not going to bring the community together,” Pacetti said. “No one went through the necessary steps to even look at the architecture of the memorial. Can it be moved? Can it be taken apart?”

The petitioners are requesting a temporary injunction to prohibit the city from relocating it until a study is done by a review board.

It’s unclear where the monument will be taken.

Jaime Perkins spent years trying to get the memorial removed and was even spit on at one point during protests to take it down.

“I feel like our Commission finally is listening to its minority residents,” she said. “It’s finally taking heed to … how we feel.”

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


6 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 1, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Let the confederacy die!

    • Willie

      July 2, 2020 at 8:45 am

      Are you all going map?It is time that that we say enough is enough.
      Leave these monuments alone ,it certainly would not change anything.
      Wake up people,again enough is enough.
      We are the one that should be marching to leave these beautiful monuments in place.
      Again I say Wake up?
      Why take these down to make a few get their ways.
      Now I kind a feel better,maybe not .

    • Willie

      July 2, 2020 at 8:48 am

      Are you all going mad It is time that we say enough is enough.
      Leave these monuments alone ,it certainly would not change anything.
      Wake up people,again enough is enough.
      We are the one that should be marching to leave these beautiful monuments in place.
      Again I say Wake up?
      Why take these down to make a few get their ways.
      Now I kind a feel better,maybe not .

  • Do not Appease

    July 1, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    There is nothing on this Memorial, that is offensive. There is no statue, there are no words about the Confederacy or Lost Cause, nothing. There is a cross and the names of the soldiers who died. This is the most unoffensive memorial I have ever seen, yet, there are those who want to demand the city to remove it. If it is removed, they will never be satisfied. Once you try to appease these people, they own you. Anything that they want , they will have a temper tantrum, and use violence and threats of violence. You have to stand tall , and say NOOOOOO. oh, and by the way, Jaime Perkins is black.

  • flaterritory

    July 2, 2020 at 7:02 am

    This is not the oldest Civil War monument in the state. There is one older which used to have a designation of a state park under the Florida Board of Parks and Memorials. But why even bother to educate anyone about history these days?

  • Steve

    July 6, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    There needs to be a distinction made between commemorative monuments that went up right after the Civil War and confederate monuments. This monument was erected in remembrance of shoulders that had died and should stay. The confederate monuments were erected for reasons that should disqualify them from being placed in public places. And it doesn’t help the ancestors in enlightening the commission for idiots to be running around the monument waving Confederate battle flags.

Comments are closed.


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