Supporters rally to protect a monument commemorating the Battle of Olustee

The debate surrounding a confederate monument in Columbia County brought out a group of supporters to protect the statue Saturday afternoon. The group believes the monument needs to remain in its current location to ensure history is not altered.
Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 8:14 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The monument commemorating the Civil War Battle of Olustee sits outside of the Columbia County Courthouse and has sat there for decades. Now there is a conversation about moving it, and that is not sitting well with groups of people. Supporters of the monument like Suzanne West believe if it is moved it marks a change in history, and that is something she is very strongly against.

“We cannot do not need to rewrite history. This is what is happening. Things are being destroyed, which are tragic. They are tragic that they are being destroyed any of them.”

Steve Nettles doesn’t believe the government has the authority to move the monument.

“The monument was given to the people of Columbia County, not to the county and not to the city. It should be up to the people of the county whether this gets taken out or not. It’s not been that way.”

For both West and Nettles, this issue boils down to equality of historical preservation.

“There are monuments that are offensive to me,” said West. “Have I asked them to move them, no because it is part of the American history.”

“In all fairness, if you want to take ours, our history away, let’s take Martin Luther King away,” said Nettles.

West is concerned that the monument will be vulnerable to vandalism if it’s moved.

“My concern is it will be defaced. Destroyed, such as others, because where they are talking about moving it, which is the Olustee battlefield, how would it be protected. Who would protect it, who.”

The group of supporters showed up on Saturday because they believed people against the monument would come out and protest it’s presence and possibly deface it, but that never happened.

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