Park Service says Gettysburg Confederate statues here to stay

If there is one place in the country where the statues are all but certain to stay it's about an hour and a half northwest of Washington at the Gettysburg National Battlefield.

GETTYSBURG, PA (WUSA9) - If there is one place in the country where the Confederate statues are all but certain to stay it's about an hour and a half northwest of Washington at the Gettysburg National Battlefield. But people here are still uneasy.

This was the highwater mark of the Confederacy, the place where the Union stopped Robert E Lee's advance, in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

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“I can't imagine this place without these monuments, North or South, said Barb Adams, a volunteer for the Park Service, who met her husband on a battlefield tour. Even the idea of removing monuments -- here or anywhere else -- leaves her weeping. “I turned the television off and cried this afternoon. I just couldn't take it anymore….These men, these soldiers, they lived, they believed, they fought for what they believed in.”

The Virginia monument is the biggest and oldest one here for Confederate soldiers. It was dedicated in 1917 by a niece of Robert E Lee. The Park Service says it's not going anywhere.

Vicki Browneagle sat at the bottom of the pedestal, taking a break in the heat of a sweltering summer day. As a Native American, she feels the pain of enslaved people. “It's kind of like a hate thing. I hate to say it.”

But she also says the monuments should stay.

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“We came out to see this because, it might be gone," she said. 

Robert and Elaine Accorsini are Trump supporters from New York who say we need to learn from our past. “We were separate and we came back together. And it took battles like this to do that.”

Even Enid Melendez, who identifies as an Afro Latina and wants the Confederate monuments taken down elsewhere says they should stay here at Gettysburg. She says this is a place where we can understand them in context.

I ran an admittedly unscientific poll on my Twitter page about the Gettysburg monuments. A quarter of the voters said they should go -- three quarters said they should stay.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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