UNION COUNTY — It was last moved in 1947 to accommodate the flow of traffic on Main Street but there is a now a call to have the Confederate monument on the lawn of the Union County Courthouse moved for reasons having nothing to do with traffic.
The Confederate monument was erected in 1907 and for the next 40 years stood in the middle of Main Street near the intersection with Herndon Street. It remained there until 1947 when, to facilitate the flow of traffic, it was moved to the lawn of the Union County Courthouse where it has remained to this day.
The monument includes the following inscriptions which state the reasons for the monument: “In Memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Union County, SC.”
“These were men who gave their lives and fortunes to home and country in vindication of those sacred rights reserved to the states and guaranteed by the Federal Constitution as adopted and ratified by South Carolina May 23, 1788.”
“Truth, Courage, and Patriotism endure forever.”
While those words suggest the meaning the monument had to those who erected it, there are those who interpret the monument much differently, one of whom addressed Union County Council this week calling for it to be moved.
During its September meeting in the Carlisle Town Hall on Tuesday evening, council heard from David Gist who called for the monument to be moved from its current location to a Confederate cemetery.
Gist said the monument stands for treason against the United States and that the men it honors fought against the United States and its Constitution. He said it is a reminder of slavery and racism and that the Confederate soldiers were fighting Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to free the slaves.
Gist rejected the argument that the monument should remain because of history, arguing that the chapter of American history it honors was evil and should not be commemorated. He said there was no place in 2017 for what he said was the negative mindset symbolized by the monument.
Gist called on county council to join with Union City Council to find a way to move the monument.
In response, Union County Supervisor Frank Hart said that the council does not have the power to move the monument. Hart said that under the S.C. Heritage Act no Confederate monument can be moved unless the S.C. General Assembly votes to do so.
He did, however, offer to put Gist in contact with the Union County Legislative Delegation to discuss the matter further.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.