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Wandering Around Washington: Many public comments on monuments, but no letters

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Joe Tennis

Joe Tennis

Folks in Abingdon made a big deal out of the Confederate statues and or monuments at the last Town Council meeting.

Several people spoke on whether the monuments at the Washington County Courthouse could be moved to the Veterans Memorial Park in town.

Those monuments need to be moved to make way for courthouse construction and expansion of the facility at the heart of the historic district.

But such monuments also provoke controversy these days, with changing views of the Confederacy and what it means in today’s society, looking back through the lens of history.

Yes, lots of people spoke. It was all during the public comments portion of the December meeting of the Town Council.

Some people wanted to keep the monuments in the courthouse town. And some said that it was the county’s problem, not the town’s.

Former Mayor Wayne Craig said that the statue of a soldier could draw protesters to town and be in conflict with the welcoming nature of the new sports complex, practically within walking distance of the Veterans Park.

Link Elmore also spoke against keeping the statue or other monument in town.

Statue supporters, on the other hand, noted that the statue of the soldier holding a rifle could be repurposed in the Veterans Park.

Town Council members didn’t say a thing.

In the end, what amounted to several minutes of a Town Council meeting would really go down as all about nothing.

And why is that?

Because nobody officially turned in a letter to the county officials, asking for those monuments.

That was required, according to the county attorney, Lucy Phillips.

Three letters came into the county, asking for considering the relocation of one or both monuments.

Folks from Abingdon came out to meetings of both the Town Council and the Washington County Board of Supervisors in recent weeks.

But there was no letter to back anything up.

In the end, while the town manager of Abingdon went on record saying that the town was not interested in those monuments, there was no one going on record with a letter wanting them either.

Well, at least not as of Monday afternoon …

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