Madison City Council continued with their discussion of the plan to remove the Confederate Monuments in the Forest Hill cemetery Tuesday night.
The decision was made at a meeting on April 10, and was then moved for reconsideration for the following meeting. The reconsideration was not passed on Tuesday night, and the decision will remain the same.
To open the issue, members of the public spoke on their positions. Wisconsin citizen James Reiff believes the dead should be left alone.
“These men too were Americans and fought for what was important for them. We owe it to them to keep that cemetery in good orders and keep the monuments that were there,” Reiff said. “Don’t make war on the dead.”
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Following public comments, the decision was opened to council members, where Alder Paul Skidmore, District 9, asked for reconsideration so the cenotaph can remain where it is.
Skidmore said he has heard from many citizens who believe the cenotaph should remain in place, and he agrees.
“I spoke about my support to keep the cenotaph, but I also support the discussion that we are not here to celebrate or honor the Confederacy or its cause,” Skidmore said. “The effort you are hearing is to honor the dead and allow for forgiveness and reconciliation with history.”
Skidmore emphasized that this is not an issue of racism. Although racism will always be around, it is more about the importance of history. He said the memorials do not promote racism or the Confederacy, but are meant to be the final resting place of 140 people who were prisoners of the war.
Madison City Council committee votes to remove Confederate plaque at local cemeteryThe Madison City Council Landmarks Commission passed motions Monday recommending the retention of a Confederate cenotaph and retroactively approving the Read…
However, Alder Mark Clear said he has not seen anything to make him believe the council should take the issue up again, as the vote was unanimous at the April meeting.
Alder David Ahrens sided with Skidmore, saying there should be an addition of a sign to explain the monuments.
“The act of remembrance is important to all parties and by remembering the dead, we are not revering the actions, but there would need to be an explanation to the monuments,” Ahrens said.
After discussion, the council voted for there to be no reconsideration of the decision previously made. The vote was 14–4 to keep the April 10 decision.