Caldwell County Commissioners consider removing Confederate monument
By Wesley Gardner
Caldwell County Commissioners on Tuesday listened to presentations both arguing for and against the removal of the Confederate monument located just outside the courthouse.
The monument was initially erected in Lockhart in 1923 by the Daughters of the Confederacy, an American hereditary association of Southern women established in 1894 with the stated purposes of commemorating Confederate States Army soldiers and funding the erection of memorials in their honor.
The item was brought to the commission’s attention after Lockhart resident and Bluebonnet Records co-owner Cody Kimball reached out to Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden last week to begin a conversation about potentially relocating the monument. A change.org petition led by Kimball now has more than 7,700 signatures.
Advocates on both sides of the issue generally agreed that the monument was historically significant, though they diverged on the appropriateness of keeping it prominently displayed at the courthouse.
Because each of the individual’s speeches ran at least four minutes or longer, The Post-Register has decided to run two of them in their entirety to avoid potentially parsing any arguments or quoting individuals out of context.
The first, presented by Rev. Ryan Lozano, argues against removing the monument from the courthouse grounds, while the second, presented by Sterling Riles, argues in favor of its removal. To see each of their speeches, see page 11A.
Generally, several of those in favor of keeping the monument in place argued it served as an important reminder of the mistakes made by previous generations and should be used as a tool to help Americans learn from the country’s troubled past. Some also argued that they’d lived in Lockhart for most of their lives and had never heard about anyone being upset by the monument.
Proponents of removing the monument argued that it represented a symbol of hate and oppression toward minorities. They also argued the monument could be moved to a local cemetery or the Caldwell County Jail Museum in Lockhart and still retain its historical value without potentially offending anyone walking by on the Square.
Commissioners ultimately took no action on the item.
“We as a court have heard everything that’s been said in here today, some of it particularly poignant, and we will take that very serious,” said County Judge Hoppy Haden. “This was a discussion item only today, but make no mistake, this has been heard.”
Haden noted he was in favor of forming a citizen advisory committee that would ultimately be responsible for the final decision regarding the monument.
“I think it’s extremely important that both sides are represented and both sides come to the table and both sides talk to each other,” said Haden. “We don’t talk to each as a society anymore. We yell at each other.
“Some compromise needs to be struck. We do, as a county, have an issue here that needs to be looked into, and we can’t deny that.”