WKRN web staff - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Anarchy and Nazi symbols are among the graffiti vandals painted on a prominent confederate memorial at a historic Nashville cemetery.
Police told News 2 they are investigating the vandalism at Mt. Olivet cemetery in South Nashville, which was reported on January 31.
Nashville native, Paul white is with Sons of Confederate Veterans. He said they are a historical group that is dedicated to the preservation of Civil War history.
"It's just sad that people will do something like that, I think primarily out of ignorance of what they are doing," he explained.
According to a historical marker at the site, the monument was established by Women of Nashville and named Confederate Circle, which features a towering 45-foot memorial with a solider atop. The memorial marks the graves of some 1,500 confederate soldiers, whose remains were moved there from Nashville area battlefields.
"There are quite a number of them that have been marked by the official VA markers
and they desecrated those as well. There were four or five that had Nazi Swastikas spray painted on them. In addition to being monuments that commemorate people that they perhaps think don't need commemoration, they are also quite elegant and valuable pieces of public art."
White said the fact that anyone would deface a grave is sad.
"That was still somebody's son, somebody's brother, somebody's father. These are people that lived lives just like we do, they have the same passions and the same loves and the same dreams and hopes that we do as people and I think it's extremely disrespectful to damage anyone's grave," White explained.
Antifa and B.L.M. for Black Lives Matter are also among the graffiti on the monument.
"I don't know rather they are behind it or not. I have no way of knowing that. I do know whoever did it wanted to make the statement at least on their behalf," White said.
White told News 2 he would like both sides to sit down and have a conversation to better understand where each is coming from.
"Yes, I would like to have a conversation to understand why these people think that they have the right to destroy someone else's heritage and view of American history," he said.
He added, "I would encourage them to use their energies to raise money and erect monuments that raise their point of view not just tear down and destroy, damage and deface the monuments that other people have."
He said he hopes News 2's broadcast will help open up that line of communication.
News 2 reached out to ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter on Facebook, but have yet to hear back.
We also reached out to management with the cemetery for comment, but did not hear back.
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