Socorro Mayor Wary Of Confederate Memorial

February 29, 2012

SOCORRO, N.M. — A monument to commemorate Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War is creating quite a stir in New Mexico.

The granite memorial sits on the western-most side of the Socorro cemetery. It was dedicated last week by several groups, including the New Mexico Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"The memorial stands for the bravery of young men who fought and died for the Confederate States of America and the idea they fought for is states’ rights," Jim Red, with the New Mexico Sons of Confederate Veterans, said. "We are not a racist organization. I’m not a racist. I’m not a member of any racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. My wife is a native of New Mexico. She’s from Acoma."

Soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War Battle of Valverde are believed to be buried in the area. The group also plans to place headstones and turn the site into a Confederate cemetery.

Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker said he has his concerns.

"I don’t want to say glorify, but that’s what they’re doing is glorifying the Confederacy cause there are certain things in the Confederate reasoning that in my mind are not just distasteful, they’re not right," Bhasker said.

Bhasker said he’s asked the Socorro City Council to consider regulating the cemetery.

"Which is carefully, legally, and making sure that everybody’s rights are preserved, but yet, the public’s rights are also preserved," Bhasker said.

The New Mexico Sons of Confederate Veterans said the memorial is on their privately owned plot. The city is not so sure, and officials are looking through records to verify that claim.

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