The owner of the monument, the Long Beach chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, initially said Tuesday it would not remove it, then reportedly had a change of heart later in the day. By 9 Wednesday morning, the monument was gone, removed by a pickup truck and driven off while covered by a tarp.
The cemetery, located on Santa Monica Boulevard, will pay for the removal, the cemetery’s Eddy Martinez said, adding it will be placed in “private storage.”
A petition started Tuesday on change.org calling for the monument’s removal received 1,564 signatures as of 11 p.m.
The 6-foot monument was erected in 1925 and sits on a plot of land containing the graves of nearly 30 Confederate soldiers and their families who moved to Southern California after the war.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy purchased the grave plots, placed the monument in the center and deeded the plots to individual veterans, Fox11 reported.
Tyler Cassity, the cemetery’s president and co-owner, told the Los Angeles Times that someone vandalized the granite boulder monument Tuesday, using a black marker to write “No” across its bronze plaque, which bears the inscription: “In memory of the soldiers of the Confederate army who have died or may die on the Pacific Coast.”
Cassity said he reached out to the Long Beach chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which owns the monument and — to his relief — ultimately made the decision to take it down to prevent further acts of vandalism.
“I understood everyone’s frustration, but I really felt like it wasn’t our right to remove the monument. It’s kind of against what we’re supposed to be doing there, preserving history,” he told The Times. “I think they made a wise decision given how quickly it escalated and what’s happening right now in the country.”
Over time, he said, the United Daughters of the Confederacy has been cooperative with the cemetery’s requests to modify its annual memorial service. They’ve stopped doing reenactments, as well as bringing guns and Confederate flags.
“We feel they have a right to commemorate their dead, but Confederate flags and guns can be disturbing to our visitors,” Cassity told The Times.
—City News Service
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