It’s proving no easy thing to build a Union monument at the site of the biggest Civil War battle fought in Florida.
Around 100 people attended a public hearing on Monday in Lake City, Fla., to discuss the monument proposed for the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. The proposal was met with a “furious response,” according to The News Service of Florida. Actually, “furious” doesn’t seem like it quite captures it.
“Passions ran high, at one point erupting in a spontaneous chorus of ‘Dixie’ led by a black man, H.K. Edgerton, who called Union soldiers rapists and wielded his large Confederate flag like a conductor’s baton as the audience sang,” The News Service of Florida reported on Tuesday.
Another speaker at the hearing, which was moderated by officials from the the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, compared the proposed Union monument to “placing a memorial to Jane Fonda at the entrance to the Vietnam memorial.”
The plans for the memorial began in February, when the Department of Environmental Protection got a proposal from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to build the monument. Monday’s hearing was supposed to discuss possible locations for the project.
According to The News Service of Florida, many speakers who attended the hearing said they were descendants of soldiers who died at the Battle of Olustee, a Confederate victory which took place on Feb. 20, 1864. The hearing was also attended by a state lawmaker, Florida House Judiciary Chairman Dennis Baxley (R ). Baxley raised concerns that no elected body had reviewed the proposal.
“There is a sacred trust that’s being violated when you go in and change an historic site from the way it was commemorated by those who established (it),” Baxley said.
Baxley suggested he may introduce a bill to get the proposed monument “off the table.”