Public Comments for: HB778 - Monument and memorials; relocation.
As I type this, historic war monuments are being destroyed. Many more will be in the next year unless this Bill becomes law. This is not a normal situation where if you wait it can be corrected later. Under the current law I was given, without conditions, the Isle of Wight Monument to Confederate Dead. I have honorably re-erected it. If I had chosen or later decided to, I can destroy it at any time I wish. This was allowed because the current law is seriously flawed. At the very least the sentence " The local governing body shall have soul authority to determine the final disposition of the monument or memorial" should be removed. This is the phrase being used to alter and destroy monuments. You may not be a fan of some monuments, but as we have seen, all seem to be on the "destroy list". The founding fathers and even Columbus. You must ask if you want to be the ones responsible for the destruction of historic art and artifacts.
I consider this bill about as good as it gets. I recommend that it pass. Some protection must be provided for erected monuments or we will end up in an Orwellian world where nothing can be saved. The people who are most in favor of removing and vandalizing monuments will be shocked when people start coming after theirs, and the people who are in power now may be targeted by the very precedent they themselves established. I would preserve all monuments where some people still value them.
We as a people need to embrace Our culture and history. In 1861 when the State called for its young men to answer the call, they came. They came , and gave their all! Some have everything! After the War ended , Statues went up to remind all of the sacrifice that the Leaders and men endured! These were not put up to be signs of Racial Superiority! Now, politics of age deem these Statues archaic platitudes to Racisl Superiority! Nothing could be more false! Please vote that these Monuments are no longer tore down or defaced . Remember; it is only a question of time that WWI & WWII monuments will be next!!
Please support HB :778 As a student of U.S. history , ancient history , and world history I have learned do not destroy history but learn from the past .
I appeal to you all to please support HB778. The war Veterans who have served our commonwealth and this great country deserve nothing less than to have the Memorials erected in their honor protected to the best of our ability. Most Respectfully Tracy Clary
I would like to express my sincere hope that the Sub Committee will support HB778. I am in favor of this proposed bill as written and I am of the belief that we need to do more to preserve our rich Virginia history. Thank you. T B.Simmons,Sr. Sebrell-Southamptpn County Virginia
Please support HB778. Thank you.
I am speaking in support of House Bill 778. I light of the willful display of hatred toward certain Monuments over the past several years, there needs to be a method codified to preserve monuments. The hatred displayed to, specifically, Confederate memorials is a travesty to the preservation of our history. The move to give "context" to monuments is just a method for those who have a bias to be given authority to publicly display their bias under the guise of "explaining" the history of the monument. We saw how even the top elected officials of the Commonwealth behaved toward Monuments they chose to not try to understand, rather, those officials chose to pander to a portion of the population for future political gain. The Monuments in Charlottesville were the subject of a vile attack by one of Charlottesville City Councilmen. This individual has a long history of racist/bigoted comments toward Confederate history. The actions of this Councilman directly precipitated the tragic day which cost the lives of a protester and two of the Commonwealth's Officers. It is too late to restore those lives and the property which has been destroyed by hatred, hatred being portrayed as concern for truth as officials removed monuments "to hatred" rather than trying to understand the complex political and social issues of the mid-19th Century . I urge to Committee to support HB778 as a measure to help preserve Monuments to history for all citizens and generations. Sincerely, Michael W. Tyler
To the members of this committee: please be advised that I am in support of HB778 and wish that this bill be submitted to the entire House for approval. Billie Earnest
Members of the Committee, I am in support of and request that you too support HR 778. To ask that our monuments be treated with dignity and placed where they are wanted and may be viewed by the public who WANT TO understand that these monuments are very important. One of the greatest fallacies one can make in attempting to learn the truths history has to offer is to judge another's actions by the standards of one's own time Thank you, Lawrence D Mason King George, VA
I believe that Virginia monument should be preserved. They are an important part of our history and it is a great tragedy to have them taken down or removed. Thank You.
In regard to HB 778 I request all Virginia Representatives to support this bill. Please restore some protection for War Memorials and Historic outdoor works of Art. This senseless destruction of the symbols of our State and Country must stop. B. Frank Earnest, US Navy Retired, Vietnam era Veteran
The past couple years have seen the current VA law abused for political purposes. I support HB 778 because it is the moral thing to do to support our Veterans! Please support this Bill.
ALL monuments should be left where they are. That said I would like to see this bill passed as it at least gives those who the monument represents some say in what is done with it.
Please support passage of this bill, introduced by Del. Williams. This bill is necessary to protect our war memorials and other monuments in Virginia. One only has to look down Monument Avenue to see what the wanton destruction of this once beautiful avenue has wrought to the utter disregard of residents in the area. This bill would help with the appropriate relocation of monuments and memorials, when deemed necessary. Thank you, Mike Hahn Arlington
Thank you for your time! I have watched in complete horror my Southern history destroyed over the past 2 years. We have become Nation no better than the Taliban who destroyed antiquity in Afghanistan, and ISIS who bombed Roman Temples in Paul Maria, Syria. Because someone doesn't agree with another, it doesn't give the opposing entity the right to destroy (as in the case of our Southern Memorials). All memorials should remain intact and studied. Look at Lee, he freed his (wife's) slaves before war began. Lincoln, did not! so is he next?? The Confederate Constitution Article 1 Section 9, 1-2 "Forbids the importation of slaves into the South or its territories from any foreign Country." However, The Corwin Amendment, (March 1861) pre war, was passed by House and Senate by a majority vote and ratified in Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Maryland, all NORTHERN states. This Amendment would have made slavery perpetual, forever, in our Country. The only thing stopping it from being ratified, was War. If the war was fought over slavery why did Northern States vote ratify it. The money allocated toward destruction of our history/memorials should be placed in education. We are heading down a slippery slop of which there is no return. Who will be next? What buildings are next? The Capital?? built by slave labor. It must stop. PLEASE PROTECT WHAT MEMORIALS ARE LEFT. Slavery began in this Country in 1619, not in the short 4 years of the Southern States existence. It flourished 242 years before there was a Confederate States of America. EDUCATION is the key. Thank you Roy Perry 540-207-5037
Please save all of Virginias history, by leaving our monuments intact and historic memorabilia on display. The Commonwealths history should not offend anyone who takes the time to understand it and respect the changes that occurred. For instance Virginias State park history, the Commonwealth’s Roadways or the quaint country town with the history of its namesake and deep rooted genealogy of the people who lived there. The Monuments are no different, they speak of times gone by, appreciated by some, disliked by others. Maybe they are a symbol that change is needed and to remind us to do so, whatever the cause, our history brought us to this day in time. We need to respect each other’s heritage and appreciate how each native Virginian helped to shape all of us. Respectfully, Alan Crawford
I support HB778. I ask that every memeber support this bill.
Please Support this bill to help stop the destruction of our heratige.
My wife and I both support HB 778, as we believe it is very important to protect Virginia's historic War Memorials to Veterans.
Virginia's various war monuments and memorials, and the epitaphs inscribed on them, to remember those to whom they were erected, serve, not only as a memoriam to all who served, but as a final resting place for the soldier who never returned home. They are a solemn place where people can come to remember or memorialize their loved one, friend, or ancestor, and honor their call to duty, their service, and for some, their ultimate sacrifice. To allow any of these monuments or memorials to be wantonly moved from the public eye, or to be vandalized, or to be destroyed, is a most shameful act for anyone to support. Therefore I urge every member of this committee to support House Bill No. 778, offered January 12 of the 2022 Session, to amend and reenact § 15.2-1812 of the Code of Virginia, relating to relocation of monuments and memorials. I thank each of you for your time and consideration of these comments.
Thank you for introducing this bill to the current session for consideration. I have been saddened at the removal and attack our beautiful monuments have undergone in the last several years. Richmond City Council destroyed the heritage and beauty of Monument Avenue with the removal of the statues. Those publicly owned monuments were subjected to graffiti, demolition and finally removal. I actually lived several blocks from the monuments and moved out of the City of Richmond, back to my hometown of Farmville because of the civil unrest and destruction of the area. Items of historical significance should never be removed, hidden and destroyed but explained in their context and history learned. We teach by example and instruction. Without objects of reference, our history is slowly eroded. Absolutely, please pass a bill that monuments of historical significance should be gifted or preserved and given to a respective body that will maintain them and allow them to be displayed.
Please protect monuments to all Virginia soldiers. These soldiers left home and family to protect their state and many gave the ultimate sacrifice. Please consider those of us who wish to honor their memory.
Mr. David McCullough, historian and author, reminds us. "We should never look down on those of the past and say they should have known better. What do you think they will be saying about us in the future? They are going to be saying "we" should have known better." "Monuments are erected to commemorate particular achievements of imperfect people. There are other mechanisms - schools - museums -documentaries - books - to instruct us on the purported flaws of our forebears." Jeffrey Collins - Professor of History - Queens University These two comments alone should make us realize that we should support HB778. A monument that was erected to honor the men of a county in Virginia for their service in the Civil War, the VietNam war, the Spanish-American war, or some future war were all erected in a time of pain, loss, and pride. Many of those people never came home and this local monument is in fact their only gravestone. Think about that. This is their gravestone. Misguided people are tearing down statues of Lincoln, Grant, Douglas, Lee, Jefferson, Columbus, Catholic Missionaries and more. That is also very misguided but may be a bit off point on a War Memorial HB. The concept is the same. History, including statues, provide teaching moments. If there is no monument to the horrors of the Trail of Tears . . . did it happen? If there is no monument to what happened on the Pettis Bridge . . . did it happen? If there is no monument in Williamsburg to honor the local soldiers and sailors who answered the call of Virginia to defend her from invasion in 1861-1865 . . . did it happen? One of the most amazing documents in American history came from the mind of Thomas Jefferson and he considers it one of his three major life achievements. That document alone should have a statue of Tom erected in every state in the Union . .. naturally I refer to the 'Virginia Article of Religious Freedom.' Support the bill. Protect history.
Please help, support House Bill 778 that protects Virginia's historic War Memorials to Veterans Thank you Jim Martin Jim Martin, Appomattox 5th. Districk email@example.com
I support this bill as I feel the preservation of all war monuments is extremely important.
I am writing in support of HB778. This bill would still allow localities the ability to vote to remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover monuments that are on public land. However, we need an orderly process that insures Virginia's historic monuments do not get placed in "permanent storage" or destroyed. This bill outlines an appropriate process to follow.
I ask you to support for HB778. Protecting Virginia's storied history has never been more important not only for Virginia, but for our entire nation. Virginia is at the heart of the American identity itself. For no story about America can begin without her. From it's founding days to the present, our entire nation has looked to Virginia and it's role as the nation's history keeper. Let us not lose this noble charter we have been entrusted with. Thank you.
I am a retired Air Force Veteran having served during the Viet Nam War and Desert Storm and with the Coast Guard Auxiliary during 9/11. Please save our war memorials to veterans. Don’t let history forget us. Respectfully, Jimmy Kerr
It is imperative that this bill be moved forward. For far to long, radical voices have shouted down those of the reasonable majority who wish to see these monuments remain in place or at least be moved to a location where those who honor what they stand for can continue to remember the sacrifice of the men and women they honor. And make no mistake. The opinions of those who claim to show that they represent white supremacy are expressing not facts, but their own jaundiced opinion. These monuments were placed by people who wished to honor their comrades in arms, whom they formed an unbreakable bond and brotherhood with through the contest of combat. They are no different that the memorials placed by veterans groups today to honor those they lost in Iraq or Afghanistan. Furthermore, they were placed by the wives, sons and daughters whose loved ones marched off to war and never returned, their fate and final resting place forever unknown. I implore you to remember the true spirit in which these monuments rose and honor the memory of your fellow citizens whom they seek to honor by allowing cooler heads to decide their disposition. It is already too late for some monuments, such as the one violently and crimanaly destroyed in Portsmouth, aided by one of your own Senators. It is too late even for the monument here in Newport News that I used to regularly visit. But there are hundreds of other monuments that it is not to late to save or at least provide the opportunity for people who still care deeply about them to continue to honor their memory. Please give us this chance. And you would do well to consider, those who placed these monuments never dreamed that the day would come when a mob or politically motivated officials would tear them down. What assurance do you have that 100 years from now, mobs of misguided people or politicians will not tear down monuments to civil rights or WWII because they find them offensive?
I am against removal or moving any and all historic Monuments in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The state has lost millions of dollars of revenue from tourism since the Monuments have been removed. From around the globe people would come and tour Virgunias Civil War Trails, if they come now they will be sorely disappointed, leave the Monuments alone.
Memorial statues that have been illegally taken down should be put back in its rightful place. If this is not done then in the least the historical statue should go to a Southern/Confederate group who would appreciate it and place the statue in a proper place instead of scrapping it.
Sir I would like to say myself along with many, many Virginia Military Veterans are in strong favor of protecting ALL our Statues and Monuments to the best of our ability. These Statues and Monuments represent Virginia's finest men and women who fought for what they believed in. If we lose this fight to preserve our sacred monuments and Statues then Virginia is letting down her Military Veterans of all wars in which we fought in. Please don't let this happen to us. Please preserve out monuments and Statues to the best of our ability.
I am writing in strong support of Delegate Wren Williams' bill, HB778, regarding the relocation of monuments and memorials in Virginia. The current state statute, as I understand it, allows a locality to remove or relocate a war or other memorial or monument pretty much at its own discretion, without regard to public sentiment. We have seen this statute utilized across the Commonwealth the last few years by certain localities to remove memorials dedicated primarily to soldiers or other persons who served in the Confederate armed forces. One need look no further than the graffiti-emblazoned remnants of the memorials on Monument Avenue in Richmond to see how the wanton removal of memorials debases our culture. We are somehow led to believe by proponents of these actions that removing monuments leads to healing, but in my opinion, it does the exact opposite. I am a resident of Patrick County, birthplace of Maj. Gen. JEB Stuart, whose memorial on Monument Avenue was one of those desecrated and then removed last year. The Trust that manages Stuart's birthplace has sought to have his statue brought to his home place. This certainly seems like a reasonable compromise, yet, to my knowledge, Stuart's statue remains with the others from Monument Avenue in limbo at the City's waste treatment facility, where I personally believe the City is content to have it remain until they can give it to someone who will melt it down into new politically correct "art". Delegate Williams' bill would go a long way toward ensuring that memorials with tremendous meaning to many people of this Commonwealth, such as Stuart's, are not desecrated at the whim of a local city council or board of supervisors. His bill would ensure that others with an interest in maintaining our collective history may have a fighting chance to do so. It should be remembered that Confederate veterans are, by act of the US Congress, considered veterans on legal par with American veterans of all other US wars. Their memorials are legally equivalent to those to World War II veterans and all others. Though the current statute has been invoked to target Confederate memorials and monuments thus far, there is no guarantee it will not be used in the future to target those erected in memory of veterans of other wars should the winds of political correctness ever shift. How a people choose to honor or remember their past and those who participated in it speaks volumes about their character. Virginia's history is rich. Destroying monuments will not erase parts of it some would like to forget. Though a locality may desire to remove or relocate a memorial or monument under current law, they should not be able to do so in a wanton manner that seeks to erase from public memory altogether the object or event commemorated by that memorial. Please support HB778.
I support this bill as I feel the preservation of all war monuments is extremely important.
I am writing to support HB778. I am opposed to the moving of any war memorials, but if a majority want it moved, the monuments should be protected and placed where they can be honored as originally intended.
I am the son of and the father of a military veteran. We are very concerned about what,s happening to our monuments and our history. We feel as though our goverment doesnt care about us or our opinion . Change our mind !!!!!!!!!
I am in support of House Bill 778 that aims to protect Virginia's historic War Memorials to Veterans. Prior to gifting a monument/memorial to another organization or entity, it is important to have public participation with ties to the locality and expertise on war memorials in the Commonwealth. This will ensure relocation and placement are consistent with the original intent of the monument/memorial.
I am writing is strong support of HB778! HB778 is critically significant in providing a solution to highly problematic localities that have misused the intent of the legislation. (Chapter 1101 Acts Of Assembly) "The local governing body shall have sole authority to determine the final disposition of the monument or memorial," has been inappropriately misused by two localities, Richmond and Charlottesville, that have stated they will "alter or destroy" significant monuments to the artistic legacy of this Commonwealth and of America. These localities have circumvented the legislation that has prohibited "alter or destroy" as an option for localities. Attached is Senator Reeves' letter to Charlottesville that highlights that localities blatant violation of 15.2-1812. The Commonwealth should never condone, support or legitimize the alteration or destruction of art. Localities can remove, relocate, cover or contextualize these monuments, however this Commonwealth, its localities and state agencies, such as the VMFA, DHR and DGS, as well as the executive branch of government, should never support altering or destroying ANY work of art. HB 778 removes the one sentence that these localities will use out of context to alter or destroy these grand monuments. These monuments are significant to the artistic legacy of Richmond, this Commonwealth and of the City Beautiful Movement of America. They can not be replaced, the foundries do not even exist. The work of these foundries are recognized worldwide. The bronze statues, other bronze elements and pedestals of these monuments constitute a complete monument. The nefarious statements of The Valentine Museum and its supporters are potentially going to alter or destroy these monuments by decree of the Commonwealth, Mayor and City Council of Richmond, in violations of 15.2-1812. Please support HB 778!
The current monuments statute 15.2-1812 is confusing to or being purposely misused by the attorneys for localities. They believe that the phrase in the current law “ The local governing body shall have sole authority to determine the final disposition of the monument or memorial” allows them to destroy, facilitate the destruction of by third parties and alter monuments and memorials. This is not the legislative intent . Senator Bryce Reeves , member of the Conference Committee who authored the current law has stated in writing that the current laws intent was to allow only the removal and storage, relocation of, covering of and contextualization of a monument or memorial. Not the destruction or alteration of same. Example- under the current law ,Isle of Wight County, Virginia gave me the 30 foot tall carved granite ,Isle of Wight Monument to Confederate Dead with clear title and no strings attached . I can sell, destroy, alter or do anything else I want with it. I have re- erected it in an honorable way ,the way I verbally promised ,but I had no legal obligation to do. These historic monuments belong to the citizens of Virginia and are part of Virginia history. Like any other historic artifact should be preserved. To allow their destruction or alteration is an insult to all Virginians. To judge the people of the distant past using 21 Century hindsight and knowledge is unjust and unfair. We did not grow up during their time and in their established culture. At the very least the current 15.2-1812 needs to be clarified so it can not be misinterpreted to allow for the destruction and/or alteration of any historic war monument or memorial. They started with Confederate and have moved on to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and even Columbus. How will the people of the 22 Century judge this being allowed.
HB778 should be supported because the current 15.2-1812 has a the phrase " a locality shall have the soul authority to determine the disposition of the monument or memorial". localities say this phrase allows them to destroy, facilitate the destruction of and alter historic war monuments. I know this as a fact because Isle of Wight County GAVE me the Isle of Wight monument ( a 30 foot tall 116 year old statue) with an unrestricted title and I can destroy it today if I wish. They used this phrase in 15.2-1812 to justify this. Other cities such as Charlottesville have facilitated the destruction by a third party of a historic monument using this phrase as justification. If any historic monument is to be saved the provisions in HB778 must be enacted. The left wing radicals have already demonstrated in other localities that Washington, Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers will be next.
HB778 should be supported because the current 15.2-1512 has a the phrase " a locality shall have the soul authority to determine the disposition of the monument or memorial". localities say this phrase allows them to destroy, facilitate the destruction of and alter historic war monuments. I know this as a fact because Isle of Wight County GAVE me the Isle of Wight monument ( a 30 foot tall 116 year old statue) with an unrestricted title and I can destroy it today if I wish. They used this phrase in 15,2-1512 to justify this. Other cities such as Charlottesville have facilitated the destruction by a third party of a historic monument using this phrase as justification. If any historic monument is to be saved the provisions in HB778 must be enacted. The left wing radicals have already demonstrated in other localities that Washington, Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers will be next.