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Cookeville residents sound off on proposal surrounding Confederate monument

Cookeville residents sound off on proposal to remove Confederate monument (Cookeville Gov)
Cookeville residents sound off on proposal to remove Confederate monument (Cookeville Gov)
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Citizens in Cookeville told city leaders Thursday night exactly how they felt about a Confederate monument located in the city's cemetery.

One city council member proposed adding signage to the monument, but there are many pushing back against that idea.

The Confederate monument is inscribed with a dedication "to the greatest fighting force ever assembled."

ALSO SEE: Tennessee mayor says resolutions on Confederate flags, monument 'inflammatory'

It's in the city cemetery but on a private plot, leaving questions on whether the city can legally move it.

But that didn't stop citizens from sounding off for more than an hour about this issue.

"95 or better percent of people that fought the Civil War weren’t fighting to keep the slavery, they were fighting for their homes and their families, if they were in the south," resident Thomas Savage said. "I feel like that his is just really stirred up a lot of things for our town that is really embarrassing."

There’s a key disagreement among citizens about the monument.

“Why did these men fight? Because they loved the Constitution of the United States of America and it was being not just bent, but broken," Eric Butler, a Cookeville resident, said.

An African American resident spoke out at the meeting, saying monuments such as this are "terrifying" for him.

"To have anything Confederate related to people who look like me is terrifying,” Lamar Smith, a Cookeville resident, said.

In the days leading up to the meeting, there were armed men guarding the monument because they thought someone might some to damage it, but that did not happen.

At the meeting, some citizens said they wanted to be buried at the city cemetery specifically because of the Confederate monument.

The push to add signage to the monument is one of two resolutions proposed in the city council. Another resolution calls for the city to remove all Confederate flags from city-owned property.

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*Editor's Note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported the proposal wanted to move the monument. The proposal is to add signage.

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