Discussion Continues: Florida's Oldest Confederate Monument Still Stands

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 10:42 PM CDT
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Removal of Confederate Statues continues to be a topic of discussion across the country. Today, talk began about removing a Confederate Statue, the oldest in Florida, from its current location in DeFuniak Springs.

For decades, this Confederate Statue has stood right here in front of the DeFuniak Springs Courthouse honoring Walton County's Confederate dead and was Florida's first Confederate monument.

"The monument itself is inscribed with all of the names of all of the Walton County residents that died during the Civil War," described Louis Svehla, Walton County Public Information Officer.

Right in the heart of DeFuniak Springs, stands a hand pointing to the sky with a list of names of Walton County Confederate soldiers, who died during the civil war.

"I think it's heritage, not hate. You know, there's two sides to the story, you can't forget either one," said John Gabel, Walton County resident.

"We're not forgetting the past. We just don't want the past to be out there to hinder the people that's out there trying to do improve their life and they've got to walk by here," explained Lean Dre Siples, DeFuniak Springs resident.

In the past, Walton County faced issues with the flag that flew above this before. At that time, it was the battle flag of Virginia and Tennessee.

"We to date, have not had any questions about the monument, whether it's going to come up or down, or anything. It's not really come up for discussion," said Svehla.

But, some people think it should be up for discussion.

"For the people that does not want to see it each and every day that they come by, it is a down fall," said Siples.

"It shouldn't offend anybody because it's all of our heritage. You know, it's our history," explained Gabel.

"So, different people have different views and that's where we are today. You know, not everybody thinks the same or feels the same but, that monument itself has not been questioned to date," said Svehla.

As of now, Walton County has no plans to take down or remove this monument. Walton County officials explained, as of right now, there have been no attempts to get this topic on the County Commission agenda. Until that happens, the monument will remain.