VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Close to 100 people attended a meeting at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Wednesday to discuss the future of the city’s Confederate monument.
The monument, which consists of a statue of a Confederate soldier, has sat outside the old Princess Anne Court House since 1905. Some say it’s a part of history, while others say it’s a sign of hate.
One by one, residents shared their views with the Historic Preservation Commission.
“I don’t really understand a thing about tearing down statues. We should build more up, not tear some down,” said one resident.
“I want it taken down, because it hurts my black brothers and sisters,” said another man.
The Virginia Beach community was split right down the middle when it comes to what the Confederate monument means to them.
“I am reminded when I was a child growing up in Southside Virginia, and just seeing those Confederate monuments and Confederate flags being positioned as symbols of hate,” said Veronica Coleman.
Others say it’s not about remembering slavery, it’s about remembering our veterans.
“It’s very offensive and insulting to us that we can’t even honor the men from places like Princess Anne County who went out and in a lot of cases died and never came back,” said Frank Earnest, with Sons of Confederate Veterans.
People spoke about moving the monument to a more appropriate place. However, the city isn’t sure such a place exists.
“What we don’t have is a city or county cemetery, which were the options that seemed to be the primary ones in Portsmouth and Norfolk,” said Mark Reed, Historic Preservation Planner.
The Historic Preservation Commission is now left with the duty to compile everything they heard and come up with a recommendation for city council.
“It is evident that there are two sides that feel so passionately. It’s our responsibility to recognize them and try to reconcile, to compromise,” said Commissioner Sean Diment.