Olustee Battlefield monument placement disputed
There's concern about a proposed new Union monument at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park in Baker County about where the monument might be put.
Some people say that having it on the original three acres of property, which is where the current monument is located, is something they don't want.
"I think that original three acres are a cultural and historical resource that should be maintained as is for the state of Florida," said Jim Davis, commander of Sons of Confederate Veterans in Florida.
Davis said the current monument on the site is more than enough. He said it is not a Confederate monument, but one for both the Union and Confederacy.
Charles Custer, of Sons of Union Veterans, disagrees.
"Three sides of the four-sided monument have Confederate flags and the names of Confederate units," Custer said. "They are all around the base of the monument."
He said one of the alternate proposed areas for the monument is in the area where, every February, reenactors take part in a mock Battle of Olustee. Custer said that having the monument somewhere where less people see it isn't right, and he made that clear with what he said at a public comments hearing Monday night.
"They should be thankful that the good people in Gettysburg, Pa., didn't take that same position to the many, many Confederate monuments at the Gettysburg battlefield," Custer said.
People who go to the park to see the history say that possibly leaving out part of that history isn't right.
"If soldiers lost their lives here, they should be memorialized here, too," Spencer Shellard said.
"Many of the tourists are not from Florida," Custer said. "They may be from New York or Massachusetts and may want to see where some of their ancestors fought and died."
A spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees state parks in Florida, said the department will now take all the public comments into consideration, but it doesn't have a timetable for a decision on the monument.
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