- Associated Press - Monday, August 14, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - The group that erected an Atlanta monument depicting a Confederate soldier vowed Monday that it will be repaired after protesters splattered it with red spray paint and broke a chunk from it.

It appears that the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard must now raise money to repair the 105-year-old statue, said John Green, past commandant of the group.

The statue in Piedmont Park was damaged during a Sunday protest, one of several nationwide in response to the deadly weekend violence in Virginia.

“We will somehow get it repaired,” Green said of the Atlanta monument.

Every year in October, the group holds a ceremony at the statue to re-dedicate the monument.

The angel standing over the soldier represents peace, and it was created to help bring the nation back together after the Civil War, Green said.

“The soldier is laying his arms down, laying his weapons down to say, ‘War is over; let’s come back together as a nation,’” Green said. “This is a peace monument - it’s not a Southern monument; it’s not a Northern monument.”

“They should not have been after it for any reason,” Green said of the demonstrators. “It doesn’t represent the Confederacy per se. It was set up for peace.”

City officials on Monday didn’t respond to requests for comment on any plans for repairs or whether city funds would be used. Piedmont is a city park, and Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs does maintenance and conservation of the monument and more than 100 others across the city.

Green said Monday that he wasn’t sure whether the city would contribute any funding for repairs, and he felt the group would need to raise funds.

Removing the statue is not an option, he said.

The bronze and granite memorial was installed in 1911 “to honor the efforts of the guard to spread peace following the Civil War,” Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs states on its website.

“On October 6, 1879, the guard went on a tour to invite former adversaries in what had been Union states during the Civil War to unite with people of the south,” the city’s description states. “It was a ‘mission of peace’ and was endorsed by the military and people across the United States.”

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