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Confederate memorial in Seattle causes tension

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 17, 2017

Associated Press

SEATTLE – In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, a Confederate monument on private property in Seattle is causing some tension.

Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill closed Wednesday because of angry messages it received over a memorial for Confederate soldiers that was built with help from the Daughters of the Confederacy 91 years ago, according to KOMO-TV.

More than 2,800 people have signed a petition to Seattle City Hall asking to have it removed.

Some wrote things like, “hate has no place in our city,” and “this should not be celebrated or admired.”

But, the memorial is on private property, and the city can’t take it down.

Down in Clark County, threats have come into Jefferson Davis Park, according to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the group that owns the property.

“We will take whatever steps are necessary to secure our property and will protect it with any and all means necessary,” said John Sigmon, division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

In tweets on Thursday, President Donald Trump lamented the loss of the memorials.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he Tweeted. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”

On Wednesday, a maintenance truck was parked in front of the memorial in Seattle, seemingly to hide it from view before the cemetery decided to close for the day.

Historian Feliks Banel considers the site a teaching lesson given so many Civil War veterans called this region home.

“It makes me sad,” he said. “You shouldn’t hide history. You shouldn’t put it away to forget about it because you just repeat the same mistakes later.”

In Charlottesville, a protest over the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee turned deadly last weekend.

Nationwide, deep divisions have reignited the debate over confederate symbols – even in liberal Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the city reached out through the deputy mayor to suggest that it may be time to consider taking the monument down.

Cemetery officials told KOMO that they are consulting their lawyer.

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