Lit­tle ac­tiv­ity ex­pected at Con­fed­er­ate sites

The Arizona Republic - - NEWS - John D’Anna

A year af­ter vi­o­lent protests in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, rekin­dled de­bates over what to do with Civil War-era mon­u­ments, Ari­zona’s six pub­lic memo­ri­als to Con­fed­er­ate soldiers re­main stand­ing.

Two of the mon­u­ments were van­dal­ized in the wake of last year’s protests, and while there were calls then to re­move them, of­fi­cials said Fri­day they were not aware of any protests planned at the sites this week­end.

Emo­tions seethed last year as white su­prem­a­cists marched through Char­lottesville, chant­ing “blood and soil” and “Jews will not re­place us,” partly in re­sponse to the city’s at­tempt to take down mon­u­ments to the Con­fed­er­acy.

But the marchers were met by counter pro­test­ers, and the erup­tion of vi­o­lence left one woman dead and dozens of oth­ers in­jured.

The so-called “Unite the Right” rally made Char­lottesville the lat­est sym­bol for the na­tion’s racial di­vide, as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ap­peared to de­liver a back­handed de­fense of the white na­tion­al­ists by say­ing there were “some very fine peo­ple on both sides” of the protests.

Re­ver­ber­a­tions were felt across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Ari­zona, where one Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment was defaced with spray paint and an­other was tarred and feath­ered.

For weeks, groups like the Sons of Con­fed­er­ate War Veter­ans de­bated the need to honor his­tory with those who ques­tioned why the state would use pub­lic land and re­sources to honor any­one who fought to pre­serve slav­ery. Crit­ics of the mon­u­ments called on Gov. Doug Ducey to or­der the mon­u­ments re­moved.

An­other Unite the Right rally is planned this week­end in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to mark the first an­niver­sary of Char­lottesville and ob­servers won­der whether his­tory will re­peat it­self.

In Ari­zona, things ap­pear much more calm.

Capi­tol Po­lice Sgt. Arnie Stolz said Fri­day that his agency had no plans to in­crease se­cu­rity around the most prom­i­nent of Ari­zona’s memo­ri­als, which was erected by the Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy at the State Capi­tol in 1961.

The mon­u­ment, in Wes­ley Bolin Plaza, is sur­rounded by some 20 other memo­ri­als.

Last year some­one van­dal­ized it with spray paint.

A sec­ond mon­u­ment, this one des­ig­nat­ing a stretch of high­way along U.S. 60 near Apache Junc­tion in honor of Con­fed­er­ate Pres­i­dent Jef­fer­son Davis, was tarred and feath­ered.

A state De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer had not re­ceived a re­ply from in­ves­ti­ga­tors late Fri­day on whether any­one had been ar­rested in ei­ther case.

In Sierra Vista, the site of a third mon­u­ment, there were no plans to in­crease pa­trols in the South­ern Ari­zona Veter­ans Ceme­tery, where the re­mains of 21 Con­fed­er­ate soldiers who later fought with the U.S. Army dur­ing the Indian Wars are buried.

A memo­rial to those soldiers was placed at the ceme­tery by the Daugh­ters of the Con­fed­er­acy and the Sons of Con­fed­er­ate War Veter­ans in 2010.

De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs spokes­woman Ni­cole Baker said she had heard of no plans for protests or vig­ils at the site.

A spokes­woman at Pi­ca­cho Peak State Park, the site of the west­ern­most skir­mish of the Civil War in 1862, said she also had not heard of any events be­ing planned for this week­end. She would not com­ment on whether any in­creased pa­trols were planned.

The park has a memo­rial to the Con­fed­er­ate soldiers who fought in the bat­tle that was erected in 1958 and refers to the Civil War as the “war between the states.”

The sign was placed by the Sons of the Con­fed­er­ate War Veter­ans, which is also re­spon­si­ble for Ari­zona’s two other pub­lic memo­ri­als. One hon­ors a small group of Con­fed­er­ate soldiers who were killed by Apaches at Dra­goon Springs, just east of the town of Ben­son three weeks af­ter the Pi­ca­cho Peak skir­mish; and an­other was placed at Greenwood Memo­rial Ceme­tery that hon­ors Ari­zona Con­fed­er­ate soldiers in gen­eral.

Bill Long, ad­ju­tant for the or­ga­ni­za­tion, said he was un­aware of any events tak­ing place near Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments or any ef­forts to guard them.

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