By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, July 1, the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board voted to begin the process of removing the 110 year old Confederate Veterans Memorial from historic Linn Park in downtown Birmingham.
The Alabama Political Reporter talked about the move with Civil War re-enactor and one of the organizers of the movement to protect Alabama’s Confederate memorials, Karl Andreas Bodenheimer.
Bodenheimer told APR, “My understanding is the next Board meeting is on the 15th of July. Monuments are sacred and no one should be removing them. They are there to honor our dead and those who were soldiers who gave everything in defense of their homeland. People can talk about the causes of the War, people can argue that until they are blue in the face, but the simple fact remains. These men and women fought, sacrificed and Died for Alabama, for the Cities and Counties they came from. They fought to defend THIS State and the people in it for what they knew was the right thing to do.”
Bodenheimer said that, “To remove memorials and monuments is nothing but the desecration of the history of this State and it’s EXACTLY what our forefathers from Washington and Adams down to Lee and Yancey FOUGHT AGAINST, Censorship, lies, propaganda, and the eradication of truth are in my opinion the last steps towards solidifying the united States of America as a socialist and eventually communist country.”
Bodenheimer speculated, “Maybe one day people will pick up a book written from those who were there and actually educate themselves, but until then these feel goodisms and uninformed people will continue to complain about our (Alabama’s) History and Heritage.”
Bodenheimer said, “I will ALSO add….the fact that by Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.”
Bodenheimer continued, “As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a US Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran.”
22552 people have now signed the online petition at change.org asking for Alabama Governor Bentley to return the Confederate flags to the memorial on the State Capital grounds.
Cindy Monaghan-Holcomb with the Alabama Conservatives Group wrote on Facebook, “The Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board have voted to remove the Confederate Monument from Linn Park. I vehemently disagree, but as they have voted to remove the monument, allow me to the be the first to petition the Board to replace the monument with a statue honoring Condoleeza Rice, the first black female Secretary of State and a Birmingham native. As it stands today, the City of Birmingham, including the Parks and Recreation Board, have absolutely no acknowledgement of her or her accomplishments in the city. Please call the Park and Recreation Board and petition them to reconsider their decision and if not, demand the monument be replaced with a statue honoring Secretary of State Rice!”
Longtime Birmingham radio personality and community organizer Frank Matthews is the leader of the group that has asked the city to remove the controversial monument to Alabama’s Confederate past. Mathews wrote on his Facebook page after the vote, “Thanks everyone But no thanks for exclamation affirmation and praise for Frank James Matthews III..but I bow my head with tears for the 9 martyrs that was slain and those that were injured That diabolical Bible study massacre night! and all the pain for 110 years our people suffered under the shadow of that monster in a heart of Birmingham Tears. If you want to offer me anything make sure you reference those 9 Souls. . and those that were injured as well our ancestor.. Taking down this monument this monstrosity was a gigantic step. but it will not bring the nine back to Life although I hear the voices of the 9 screaming thanks !as well I hear the whispers of souls past long gone! that’s encouragement enough! it won’t heal the injured! So just bow with me in silence for a few moments each day ..as we remember the dark dog days in this country in the dark months and years that we have suffered !Tears!!”
The Board is discussing letting the Daughters of the Confederate Veterans to move the memorial to another location. Attorneys for the Board will be studying their legal options and any potential road blocks to the Board voting to remove the memorial, before their next meeting.