New Confederate soldier statue set in new location

Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Brad Kesler

REIDSVILLE — The Confederate soldier is back. Rather, it’s replacement is here.

The controversial statue has a new home — Greenview Cemetery. It sits on property owned by the North Carolina chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The organization decided to move the monument there instead of trying to find a place for it on public property.

The cemetery is less than two miles from the statue’s original location.

The monument is visible from the road that cuts through Greenview.

“We’re very happy with how he turned out,” said Aileen Ezell, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Some, like the local Historical Preservation Action Committee, wanted the monument returned to its original location — the traffic circle at the intersection of West Morehead and North Scales streets in Reidsville. It had been there since its dedication in 1910 until a driver fell asleep behind the wheel in May 2011 and hit the Civil War monument. The statue toppled from its base and broke.

Until then, the Confederate soldier’s existence hadn’t been all that controversial.

Its destruction, though, ignited a heated movement to keep it from returning.

When that wasn’t successful, some tried to get the statue relocated rather than kept at the traffic circle.

Historical Preservation Action Committee and the North Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans went to court, challenging the removal of the monument and its relocation.

The case, however, was dismissed in July 2012.

The N.C. Court of Appeals upheld the decision last month.

An attorney for the groups said it is unlikely they would take further action.

Ezell said her organization wanted the monument back at the traffic circle, too, but the Reidsville owned the property.

So, it went to Greenview.

But not everyone wanted the statue back, regardless of the location.

Ernie Pinnix, a former Marine who served in Vietnam, was among those who came out against the monument in 2012.

His body shop near Reidsville was vandalized not long after he spoke out.

Ezell herself said she has received death threats and has been verbally abused on social media sites.

“I have had some very hard feelings over this,” Ezell said.

Any bad feelings Ezell held disappeared last week when the statue was placed on top of its base.

Ezell showed up at Greenview in the morning and stayed through the afternoon until the monument was completed.

She said the moment the statue was placed on top of the base “was the most fantastic thing to see.”

The United Daughters of the Confederacy plans to rededicate the monument in the spring. Ezell hopes for a large turnout and a warm reception.

Only time will tell if the new statue becomes as controversial as the old one.

© 2013 BH Media Group Holdings, Inc

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