Leesburg business owners showed off their unique Virginia merchandise, food, and beer to Senator Tim Kaine. He was touring businesses within walking distance to the now-controversial Confederate statue at the Loudoun County Courthouse.
Sen. Kaine would not say if he thinks it should be moved.
“When I was mayor of Richmond, we did it all. We took some things down; we put some things up. We protected stuff. What I realized is, it’s the quality of the listening, and the community should make the decision.”
Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk said it's not her decision, but the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors since the statue is on Loudoun County property.
“It’s all part of our history. There could be some compromises that could be made,” said Mayor Burk.
“Why move it just because other people think it should be moved? Just might as well leave it because it’s a part of our history,” said John Cameron Hohenschutz, a Leesburg resident who is joining the Army.
Civil War buff Jim Schlett thinks the statue should go.
“I think it would be less controversial and I also think it would have a lot of healing for people who are black and descendants of slaves,” he said.
“I think a solution would be to move it to Balls Bluff Battlefield,” said Leesburg shop owner Sola Pallotta.
The Ball's Bluff Battlefield site is just two miles from the courthouse it includes a National Military cemetery that contains the remains of 54 Union soldiers. But about 40 feet away sits a marker for Confederate Sgt. Clinton Hatcher who also died there.
And, perhaps surprisingly, the iron gate to the Union cemetery has a sign on it that reads, the “Military Cemetery Plaque was replaced, and the gate restored in 1996 by the Clinton Hatcher Camp NO. 21 Sons of Confederate Veterans, Leesburg, Virginia.”
Descendants of Confederate Soldiers have provided care and funding to the Union Cemetery. Perhaps that gesture can provide an opening to a solution.
Schlett said moving the statue would not be “erasing history.”
“If people are really interested in the Civil War, there are plenty of sites in the United States. You can see all about the Civil War. And if you’re really interested, you can go to your library; there are tens of thousands of books about the Civil War. In fact, a lot of the white supremacists, I wouldn’t be surprised, that they really don’t know a lot about the Civil War,” said Schlett.
Local leaders may be prevented from removing war statues due to an old state law unless the legislature changes the law.