Robert E. Lee statue pedestal removal begins in Richmond, land to transfer to City

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 3:00 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 7:36 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Scaffolding surrounds a 40-foot pedestal on Monument Avenue in Richmond. It’s a sign that work is moving forward to eliminate some of the final symbols of the Confederacy.

“Really, I’m kind of relieved. I look at it as new beginnings and a chance to open up the circle again for community space,” said Lawrence West, BLM RVA Founder.

Over the weekend, Governor Ralph Northam announced the state will remove the pedestal that formerly displayed the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

“This is something that I had intended to complete with my term as governor, and so we made that decision recently after a lot of discussion with the City of Richmond,” said Governor Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

Monday, preliminary work began on-site. The block-by-block removal is expected to start Wednesday.

The removal part of a plan reached with the City of Richmond to convey the state-owned land to the City. Richmond City Council is currently working on re-imagining Monument Avenue and other places where Confederate statues once stood

“I think it’s a blank canvas. I mean certainly, there are passionate opinions of every variety of what should be in that space but it’s for a city-wide discussion,” said Katherine Jordan, Richmond City Council.

The state expects the removal process will be substantially complete by Dec. 31.

City council could take up legislation to accept the estimated 25,000 square foot piece of real estate this month, with a final vote as early as Jan. 10.

“I hope that people on council will be sympathetic to the needs of this entire city that before we dump millions of dollars right here to fix a historic wrong, you need to get in line,” said Mike Jones, Richmond City Council.

In September, the 21-foot-tall bronze statue of Lee on a horse was removed, more than 130 years after it was erected in the former capital of the Confederacy.

The Virginia Flaggers released a statement today.

“We are certainly not surprised to hear of the governor’s plan to illegally break the deed to the LEE circle property, destroy the remaining LEE monument base, and hand over the property to Mayor Stoney. Property owners across America should be alarmed that the state can actually disregard the legal and binding terms of a 100+ year old deed, just to appease the whims of a few ignorant and hateful activists.

Despite recent and repeated polls that show the overwhelming majority of Virginia’s citizens are opposed to monument destruction, and a total of NINE referendums across the Commonwealth during the past two elections, in which citizens overwhelmingly voted to keep memorials standing, Northam continues to bend over backwards to ignore the will of the people and please the extremists and haters among his own party. He appears to be racing to finish the destruction and give away the property to the city to ensure that the memorial will not be rebuilt when his party is ushered out of power next month.

Northam’s divisive and spiteful actions confirm that the carpetbaggers, scalawags, and their woke “social justice” rioters who are now in charge, are afraid Old Virginia won’t stay Reconstructed as long as General Lee is still around. It says something about our Confederate heroes that more than 150 years after the war ended, the honor, courage, and Godly character of men who stood up to the evil of tyranny, still scares the daylights out of them.

While they may remove granite, marble, stone and bronze, we are inspired and encouraged by the fact that the name of Robert E. Lee will be spoken with reverence and honor by true Virginians long after those behind the destruction and desecration are long gone and forgotten. Our work, as the living descendants of these gallant veterans is far from over. We will continue to do our duty…to ensure they are remembered and honored as we see fit, starting with new Memorial Battle Flag sites in addition to the 35 now existing across the Commonwealth.”

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin appears to have no plans to thwart this effort. In September, he said the supreme court ruled on the matter, and the items belong on a battlefield or in a museum.

In a press release, the Office of the Governor says if the 1887 time capsule is recovered during the disassembly process, it will remain under the control of the Commonwealth and will be removed for preservation.

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