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Opinion: We must not cave to protesters demands to remove statue
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The Confederate Memorial monument, commonly referred to as, "Old Joe," pictured in 2017 in downtown Gainesville. - photo by David Barnes

I have seen many comments from people who talk about moving Ole Joe but no one has pointed out anything offensive about him.  

As you may know, Old Joe was unveiled in 1909, but what you may not know is a monument was planned back in 1898, and with fundraising and preparation it took the combined effort of Gainesville businessmen, Hall County donors, Banks County and many others. The Gordon Highlanders of Canada with the world famed Kilties band with admission prices from 25 cents to a $1. There were concerts at Brenau University and no donation was turned away. This was a labor of love for everyone involved.  

The cost of the statue on the monument the UDC used a Spanish America War soldier to complete the work. The women raised $2,500 by selling baked goods and hosting thrift sales. Then they finally took the funds to the now-defunct American Bronze Foundry Co. of Chicago.  

Ole Joe is over a century old, making him one of the oldest residents in Gainesville. In recent months, we have heard about many victims of crime. Ole Joe is being victimized, too. He represents war veterans everywhere, and not one person who speaks bad of him can document what they say about him. If Ole Joe were to stand trial today, he would be innocent of all charges and the truth would be revealed about the motivations of his attackers.  

It should also be noted those who want to see him moved have offered no means of doing so. I would guess that is how democratic socialism works, demanding everything with other people’s money.  

Someone mentioned the Northeast Georgia History Center, but I don’t know that they have any interest in protecting monuments. And if he were moved, the sideshow would simply move off the square and waltz down the street.  

The entire song and dance has nothing to do with monuments, just as when the same group came in 2017.  

The answer to all such groups is not to cave into intimidation and simply say the word they desperately need to hear.  

No.  

Barry Colbaugh 

Gainesville 

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