The city of Atlanta says it’s weighing whether to restore a monument that was defaced in Piedmont Park Sunday or remove it.
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“The Peace Monument is owned by the City of Atlanta, and is managed by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Parks and Recreation,” a spokesperson for the city of Atlanta said. “As such, the City is responsible for restoring the public art and we are currently reviewing our options.”
The Peace Monument in Piedmont Park depicts a Confederate soldier looking up at an angel figure holding an olive branch. Some protesters spraypainted the statue, had placed a chain around it and broke a piece off.
Richard Straut, commandant of the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard, which holds a rededication each year for the statue, said he’s like to see it restored.
“It’s very disheartening,” Straut said. “That monument was dedicated to usher in peace between North and the South following the end of the Civil War.”
“To deface that monument is anything but peaceful,” he said.
Gordon Jones, senior military historian at the Atlanta History Center, said The Peace Monument, which was put up in 1911, differs from other monuments that commemorate the Confederacy.
“Its purpose was slightly different. It’s not really to commemorate the Confederacy as much as it was to commemorate the Confederacy re-entering the Union,” Jones said. “It’s categorized with other sorts of peace monuments around the world.”
However, at the same time, he said it’s important to see the context of the time when the statue was erected.
“There is a certain extent to which you could say, well yes, it’s reconciliation, but it’s only reconciliation for whites only and African-Americans are still left out of the picture to some degree,” Jones said.
Atlanta police said they were not able to identify anyone who damaged the statue.