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Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond to be removed Wednesday

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 2:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:29 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond is scheduled to be removed on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Last week, the Virginia Supreme Court made a unanimous decision for the statue to be removed.

“I’m not surprised it took this long because that’s the way it was structured to be it was not structured to be removed easily, but it’s nice to see that it’s finally happening,” James Snyder said.

Monday people like James Snyder who traveled all the way from Fredricksburg, paced the perimeter of the embattled monument because he knows it might be the last time he gets to capture the monument before its removal.

“Yeah, it’s well overdue,” Snyder said. “It’s one of those interesting moments of time that not everyone gets to witness.”

While the removal is welcomed by city leaders and residents alike, not everyone shares that sentiment. One Richmond man who wished to remain anonymous removing the statue is like removing history.

“You could definitely say they’re negative, but it’s still part of our history whether good or bad and it is just sad to see them come down after growing up with them always here,” said the man.

On Sept. 9 crews will remove the plaques from the base of the monument and will replace a time capsule that is believed to be located at the site. Crews will start installing protective fencing along Monument Avenue and Allen Street on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m., where it will remain there until all items are removed from the site. All vehicles and pedestrians can not be in the area at that time.

Map of area
Map of area(Joint Information Center)

For a list of road closures in that area, click here.

The pedestal, which is 40 feet tall, will remain in place for now until a decision is made on what to do with it.

According to a press release from the city limited viewing opportunities will be available on a first‐come, first‐served basis. A designated public viewing section will be located on Monument Avenue to the east of the Lee monument site. Beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, September 8, and Thursday, September 9, entry to the public viewing area will be on Monumen avenue at Stuart Circle and for pedestrians only.

“I don’t think it actually does anything positive for any community out there,” said a Richmond man. “If it does help somebody I guess that’s a good thing, if they actually get some satisfaction out of that then I’m happy for them, but I guess personally I don’t feel if we sat down and talked about it and discuss things civilly that anybody would think its actually doing anything progressive.”

In the meantime, folks like Snyder will watch and wait as the countdown toward removal draws nearer.

“Major change in the United States always takes time,” Snyder said.

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