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spenser1058

Eola's "Evil?" Statue

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Posted (edited)

A movement is afoot once again to remove our Eola Park Confederate soldier statue. While I understand the angst involved, I would like to respectfully disagree and here's why:

Unlike the statues recently removed in New Orleans, ours just represents the grunts, not the leaders like Jefferson Davis who arguably committed treason. The everyday troops who died and were wounded often had no choice in the matter.

Like it or not, it's part of our history, so better to discuss it than pretend like it doesn't exist. A far better solution to me would be to erect additional statues to celebrate local leaders who were African-American heroes during that era or the Civil Rights era. There were also others who worked diligently for equality for everyone in both areas who could be considered.

Finally, if the consensus is to remove it from Eola, let's reerect it in Greenwood or, if need be, a private cemetery like Woodlawn. It's not like it hasn't been moved before. Apparently, it was originally in the middle of Main St (now Magnolia) near Central and got moved to Eola because it kept being hit by cars.

I'm a native Southerner who's also a wild-eyed liberal who believes the South has gotten not just slavery wrong but also Jim Crow,  inequality generally and a lack of commitment to schooling and a chance for a better life for all our citizens (Florida often being the most egregious in our past). I'm sensitive to various opinions on this.

I also strongly believe, however that "(T)hose who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.*" I am also aware that those like LeRoy Collins, Reubin Askew at the state level as well as those like Arthur "Pappy" Kennedy, Mable Butler, Jerry and Val Demings and so many others locally can be honored to show just how much work has been done to make Orlando the diverse place it is trying to become.

*George Santayana

Edited by spenser1058
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Posted (edited)

I hadn't been to Greenwood until quite recently because of a visiting friend's interest in cemeteries, I think that is the proper place. There is hollowed ground there with the bodies of Civil War Southern dead, as well as northern. The Veterans of the North have brass stars. The Veterans of the South have black crosses. The Southern dead also have a marker at the front of their section. It is also the only place I have seen the Flag of the Confederacy flown that there is no doubt about who it honors and cannot be mistaken for a symbol of hate.

There is a lot of history at this wonderful cemetery. Including a section dedicated to Veterans of the Spanish American War. And every style of US Military headstones even outside of the Veterans sections.

I believe the Confederate Statue should be placed in the Confederate Veterans section of Greenwood. I believe it would better honor their memory and in a setting where one can reflect than at Lake Eola where it is a distraction surrounded by distractions. But then I also would prefer the WW II memorial moved as well. 

Call me old fashioned but when I am at a memorial, I want other people to act with decorum, that rarely happens at Lake Eola.

 

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Edited by Boomer136
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Boomer, an excellent take on this. I might also add add for anyone that's never done the ghost tour led by Greenwood's sexton, it's an amazing and moving occasion.

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This is something we (the collective left) seem to get wrong a lot. I have never once walked by that statue and thought, "man that seems like someone's holding on to the confederacy". What I think is, "Those poor people."

Feels like outrage in search of a cause. 

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Nobody mentioned this yet, but it seems to always come up in situations like this. It is ignorant to say that the war was not about slavery and that the Confederacy was not fighting to protect the institution of slavery. No matter which side you are on, do not act as if this isn't true. The Civil War would have happened much early during the beginnings of sectionalism if "state's rights" was the true reason. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

I have to disagree. It's not like the confederacy were fighting for a noble cause, despite many able bodied men being sent to fight a war in order to protect someone else's wealth under the guise of "state's rights". It's very easy to downplay beautiful relics of the past that affect the disenfranchised. As if Southern black descendants need a nice reminder when they go to Lake Eola park. Shall we leave the monument up at their expense? I wonder if people would make the same arguments if it were a memorial to honor the soldiers, sailors and statesmen of the SS? Maybe I don't want to know the answer...

Move it to a museum. Or the cemetery.

Edited by nite owℓ
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Too many people nowadays are looking for things to be offended about or have their feelings hurt by.

The past is the past, and we have statues to remind us of the people who lived then and the things that happened.

You walk past one and either look at it or ignore it. Maybe ponder it for a moment then go on about your business and move on with your day and your life. If you get so hung up on it that it negatively affects you, maybe you have your priorities out of whack.

I agree that the Eola statue would probably be more at home in Greenwood. 

But if they leave it where it is, that's fine with me, too.

After all, it's just a statue.

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I'm at Eola probably 4+ times a week and didn't even know it existed.  How many people actually take time to read statues?  Count my vote under Outrage in search of a reason.

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18 hours ago, Boomer136 said:

There is a lot of history at this wonderful cemetery. Including a section dedicated to Veterans of the Spanish American War. And every style of US Military headstones even outside of the Veterans sections.

Just wanted to say that if you have a chance to do one of the cemetery's full moon tours, it's well worth it! But they fill up fast: http://www.greenwood-cemetery.net/moonlight-walking-tours/ 

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The Orlando Sentinel is reporting Mayor Buddy supports a move of the statue to Greenwood Cemetery. More to come...

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Posted (edited)

When I live in orlando, I would walk pass that statue to/from work 5 times a day. Not once did I thought about hatred, division, slavery, etc. My only thoughts were that it is a nice piece of art anchoring the east side of the park, and that wow, Im walking on an 100 year old park.

Edited by tennis32801

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I think statues of Lincoln should be demolished. Somehow, every other slave-holding nation managed to transition from slavery absent bloody conflagration.

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The YouTube video didn't help. Just feels like opportunistic co-opting of the Pulse tragedy.

That said, if I were in politics, I'd say "fine, move it" because who wants to spend time and political capital on something so insignificant? It's not going to go away and there are like, actual problems to deal with.

 

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I don't mind the statue being moved to Greenwood because it really is a better fit. On the other hand, I hate seeing such appeasement every time a group has decided they're going to be offended by something.

I'd rather it had been moved years ago without all the drama.

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The statue never bothered me because I never notice it. In general, I am pretty agnostic about these memorials. If I do pay attention to them, I think poor losers if anything. I don't believe in erasing history but I think they should represent the truth about the past. 

 

On a side note, I grew up in the south so I am used to these memorials. But where are the Sherman memorials in the north? It is pretty funny that we celebrate the losers and never talk about the winners (outside of Lincoln). Seems backwards. 

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2 hours ago, jack said:

The statue never bothered me because I never notice it. In general, I am pretty agnostic about these memorials. If I do pay attention to them, I think poor losers if anything. I don't believe in erasing history but I think they should represent the truth about the past. 

 

On a side note, I grew up in the south so I am used to these memorials. But where are the Sherman memorials in the north? It is pretty funny that we celebrate the losers and never talk about the winners (outside of Lincoln). Seems backwards. 

Thanks to Lincoln, arguably we're all losers.

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22 hours ago, castorvx said:

The YouTube video didn't help. Just feels like opportunistic co-opting of the Pulse tragedy.

That said, if I were in politics, I'd say "fine, move it" because who wants to spend time and political capital on something so insignificant? It's not going to go away and there are like, actual problems to deal with.

 

For those that want it out, is there any indication that if its moved to the cemetery they will stop complaining? Cause I highly  doubt it... unless we bury it at the cemetery. They want the pieces destroyed.

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Posted (edited)

16 hours ago, JFW657 said:

I don't mind the statue being moved to Greenwood because it really is a better fit. On the other hand, I hate seeing such appeasement every time a group has decided they're going to be offended by something.

I'd rather it had been moved years ago without all the drama.

Actually, the statue itself (putting aside what it is there to represent) is probably the most regal statue in all of Orlando and really bookends this side of the park very well.  I'll leave it up to others as to whether its appropriate to remove it, but if they do, I sure hope they recognize the aesthetic loss to Lake Eola and replace it with something similar in size and materials.  We do NOT need yet another questionable art installation at the eastern entrance to the park.

 

Edited by prahaboheme
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They could erect an american/union soldier near the lake facing the confederate one. Have both facing each other to represent the brutality of war. 

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4 hours ago, jack said:

They could erect an american/union soldier near the lake facing the confederate one. Have both facing each other to represent the brutality of war. 

Someone tell Buddy! I think this idea may silence both sides.

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Given that anything you put in it's place could be viewed facing west towards downtown with the skyline as a backdrop, I think they should just go ahead and go modern to compliment that view.

Maybe move the City Hall Asparagus there.

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I wonder if the folks against the move have ever visited the designated Confederate plot at Greenwood.

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