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Century-Old Loudoun Confederate Soldier Statue Stirs Controversy

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Credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW

Credit: Kevin Patrick/All-News 99.1 WNEW

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LEESBURG, Va. (CBSDC) — An idea that was pitched by Leesburg attorney John P. Flannery in Wednesday’s edition of the Loudoun-Times Mirror — to tear down the 105-year-old Confederate soldier statue in front of the Old Courthouse — has not been well-received by all.

“Our forebears could have placed a less offensive symbol in front of the courthouse in 1908,” he wrote. “But they didn’t. They intended to make a statement – an unacceptable statement – and it’s high time we rejected that offensive statement.”

People passing by the site of the statue, which sits near the intersection of Market and King Streets, told WNEW’s Kevin Patrick that they disagree with Flannery’s view of the statue as a shameful “badge of slavery.”

It represents “the spirit of the south,” one woman said.

A man reasoned that Confederate soldiers “have a right to be honored just as much as the side that won.”

In the end, “It’s just a piece of granite with a man on top,” another man said.

According to Leesburg Magazine, a 1908 edition of Confederate Veteran included an article about the statue being erected in town.

That piece, penned by Hugh Lee Powell, said the monument was unveiled at a Memorial Day celebration. Governor Claude A. Swanson and U.S. Senator John W. Daniel were present, and Leesburg resident Harry T. Harrison, the son of one of the county’s soldiers, recited an original poem.

The poem began with the following verse:

“A statue, proof of thy maker’s art, bronze cast;
In days to come a monument to ages past;
To-day to us who gather here
You are that some one our hearts hold dear.
That father, brother, husband, lover
At peace with God beneath the sod,
Who heard the call, who walked the way,
The soldier of right who wore the gray.”

WNEW’s Kevin Patrick contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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