MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A statue honoring Rutherford County Confederate soldiers is now the center of controversy. Someone covered it with a sheet Sunday night.
There has even been some social media talk about people wanting to rip it down, but a local homeless advocate wants the statue moved to a different location before someone resorts to violence.
Perched high above, a Confederate soldier has kept watch over the Rutherford County square since 1901. But not everyone wants to see it there another 116 years.
“Maybe we can learn something about each other, why do you want this gone? Why do you want this still here,” asked Murfreesboro Cold Patrol director Jason Bennett.
After a rally against violence was over Sunday at the square, someone climbed the monument and covered the statue.
“Tearing down statues or covering them up without talking to both sides and all of that,” Bennett said. “I think that those things are hasty and I think there is a better way.”
Bennett is a homeless advocate and would like to see the monument and statue honoring Confederate soldiers moved before someone topples it.
“There is probably a way to do this bipartisan where both sides of the argument can be respected and some of these monuments move and relocated to different areas, especially in our community, I believe that’s the right thing to do,” Bennett said. “We don’t want to see a bunch of fighting you know we don’t want to see people in the middle of the night tearing down statues.”
County maintenance workers discovered the covering over the statue early Monday morning and quickly took it down.
Rutherford County commissioner and local history buff Pettus Read said when the monument was moved to its current location in 1914, the soldier’s eyes were positioned northeast, sending a clear message to Washington D.C. about the Battle of Murfreesboro.
“They hoped that never again would they have to use this type of tactic or force to deal with an Army coming from their Nation’s Capital to divide a Nation, and they hope this Nation will always be a Nation as one and not a Nation divide,” Read said.
Read said in 1929 there was a reunion Confederate soldiers who gathered as one at the monument.
“There were both African-Americans and white soldiers that were there so some did serve in the Confederate Army together and they used that Statue to show they are united together,” Read said.
Bennett would like to see the monument and statue moved to a Confederate Cemetery or Memorial saying by it being on the square, it doesn’t represent everyone.
News 2 was told the monument was paid for with donations from local Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Sons of Confederate Veterans also erected a monument at the foot of the soldier.
News 2 reached out to both groups and are still waiting to hear back.