Surry supervisors should face citizens
Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
On Aug. 13, the Surry County Board of Supervisors will hold a meeting on Zoom about the Surry County Confederate Monument.
To be able to participate you must have sent your statement in before a deadline now past for the board to read and have a copy to follow as you are called on. This means that the board has time to come up with answers for you before the meeting. If they do not like your question or cannot answer it, you may not even be called on.
The board will tell you that all of this is caused by the pandemic. In Isle of Wight, the Board of Supervisors is still holding board meetings in the Council Chamber within the governor’s guidelines. This subject is too important for it to be on Zoom without the citizens present in the room and asking their questions or making their statements without preparations from the board.
The Surry County Confederate Monument was erected in 1909 by the Confederate Memorial Association of Surry County. The purpose as stated by the association’s name was as a memorial to the Confederate dead.
Two units of the Confederate Army came from Surry County: the Surry Light Artillery and the Surry Cavalry. This is the reason for the cavalry soldier atop of the monument with the cross-cannon barrels inscribed on its front. The cannon balls stacked around the monument were donated from a citizen of Isle of Wight to accent.
The intent of the memorial was to remember the loved ones who did not come home from the War of Aggression. The location was picked because it was a central gathering place, and the courthouse was where everyone attended to their business during the year.
It was put up during the Jim Crow era, not for the so-called Jim Crow purposes, but because this is when the money had finally been collected. Remember Surry was poorer after the War than it is today. In the commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the South this is one of few memorials to honor the cavalry soldier.
When the board makes its decision on whether to remove this work of art and a memorial of loved ones, it will have to ask where the $75,000 to $100,000 will come from. What county bills will not be paid to do this act of disloyalty to the brave men who answered the call of duty to this county and commonwealth when asked of loyalty from them?
They must ask themselves where this money could be of better use as this county is now dying from lack of revenue with all the businesses moving out. They must remember that they were elected as a representative of the people and not to appease the feelings of some. The life of the county must come before personal feelings.
Ed Whitley, Commander
Isle of Wight Avengers #14
Sons of Confederate Veterans