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Civil War Confederate shrine at Cape Girardeau courthouse vandalized

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(Photo)
Jeff Abernathy with Liley Monument Works douses the graffiti on the Civil War monument in the courtyard of the Common Pleas Courthouse with industrial solvent Tuesday morning, October 11, 2011 in Cape Girardeau. The estimated cost of the removal of the graffiti will be between four and six hundred dollars.
(Laura Simon) [Order this photo]
A Civil War monument on the grounds of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau was struck by vandals who spray-painted both sides of the shrine with apparent pro-Union sentiments, nearly 150 years after the last shot was fired.

A two-man crew scrubbed black paint off the monument Tuesday morning. The men, from Marble Hill, Mo.-based Liley Monuments, said they hoped it would be graffiti-free by Tuesday afternoon.

But the message could still be read early Tuesday afternoon. "Go south" was written on the front of the shrine that sits along Lorimier Street near the fountain. That apparently was a request that the marker be moved, not a pro-South message. "We are in the union," read the words on the back. "Obscene. Remove to [illegible] cemetary (sic) in the south."

The workers from Liley said Tuesday afternoon they had tried industrial solvent and paint thinner, and the words were faded but still visible. One of the workers said getting the paint completely off Tuesday didn't "look favorable," but they would continue working through the afternoon.

By 3 p.m., a blue tarp had been wrapped around the monument and the workers were gone.

(Photo)
Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay makes a phone call to Liley Monument Works Tuesday morning after vandals spray painted graffiti on the Civil War monument in the courtyard of the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. The removal of the graffiti will cost between four and six hundred dollars.
(Laura Simon)
Two officers with the Cape Girardeau Police Department responded to a 7:30 a.m. call from employees of the nearby Southeast Missourian who first noticed the graffiti. Two officers looked over the property shortly before 9 a.m., checking trash receptacles for paint cans.

Cape Girardeau police spokesman Darin Hickey said no suspects were in custody Tuesday afternoon. Police are investigating the matter, he said, talking to residents of the nearby neighborhoods and checking for any exterior cameras.

When asked how likely it was that the culprits would ever be caught, Hickey said: "We're going to try. But it's going to be pretty tough."

Meanwhile, some with interest in history were miffed.

"All vandalism is bad, but as a Civil War buff, I'm pretty disturbed," said Scott House, a member of the Civil War Roundtable and a re-enactor. "The war has been over for almost 150 years. People should get over their hate issues on whatever side they have. It's hard to tell why somebody would do something like that."

The 14 1/2-foot-tall monument was first erected in the city in 1931 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to commemorate the one Confederate unit gathered from Cape Girardeau during the Civil War. The hand-carved monument, which weighs 12 1/2 tons, was moved from its original spot on Morgan Oak Street to the courthouse grounds in 1995 by the Civil War Roundtable.

One side of the monument reads "C.S.A.," standing for the Confederate States of America. Below the letters, the Confederate flag has been chiseled into the marble. The east side of the marker says, "In Memorium Confederate Soldiers of South East Missouri."

Passers-by expressed distaste at the graffiti, regardless of the message's content. A family that was celebrating the official adoption of a 2-year-old South Korean child moved around the courtyard so that the vandalism wasn't in photos that were being taken.

"It's awful," said James Slinkard of Jackson, the grandfather of the newly adopted baby. "We were shocked. You hate to see that happen. If they're not caught, you can probably expect more of it."

Cape Girardeau County public works director Don McQuay was noticeably peeved as he surveyed the damage. He said it would cost the county between $400 and $600 to pay Liley to use an industrial-grade solvent to remove the paint.

"That's taxpayer money," McQuay said. "I don't understand why somebody would want to tear up public property. It's their property. They're destroying their own property."

When asked what he would say to those responsible if he had the chance, he said: "You don't want to know."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

44 N. Lorimier St., Cape Girardeau, MO


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Wonder if they can catch the vandals at all.

-- Posted by CMGCEO on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 1:31 PM

bet they are too busy handing out traffic tickets to go after the vandals....

-- Posted by ManleyPointer on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 3:22 PM

Just curious...when was the last time there was a news story about a Union monument being vandalized...and yet Southern Heritage supporterrs are considered the "hate group"? I wonder if this will be investigated as a hate crime? Where is the National News Media? Oh that's right... this hate crime was against Confederate Americans, the last socially acceptable prejudice! This crime should be investigated wth vigor and the guilty parties prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

-- Posted by VaFlagger on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 7:58 PM

Good luck with that VaFlagger, although I'm with you 100%. I'll always be proud of my ancestors no matter what anyone says about them.

-- Posted by Pops90 on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 8:08 PM

The last socially acceptable prejudice is against Roman Catholics. But, I agree that these vandals should face a large fine, if not some jail time as well. Who do these people think they are? No one finds this amusing or cute. It's pointless, it only makes the vandals look stupid and uninformed. It will not change anyone's views on a war that happened 150 years ago. No one thinks it's cool either. Any idiot can operate a spray can, it's not exactly a work of genius.

-- Posted by SEMO Redhawks on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 11:12 PM

Well they are stupid and uninformed. 1/3 of Missourians that fought in the civil war fought for the south (even more in SE Missouri) and yet they put that on the monument. Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 7:39 AM

I would also like to see this handled as a Hate Crime. It's ignorance as it's best. Who does such a thing?

-- Posted by Hot Dog on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:20 AM

What if "union" refers to the one the south tried to secede from? That seems far more likely than a union/labor related vandalism. Just saying this doesn't seem like a target that a labor supporter would go after. It seems like a garbled message regarding having a monument to folks who tried to break up the Union of states.

-- Posted by SemoExpat on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:32 AM

What if "union" refers to the one the south tried to secede from? That seems far more likely than a union/labor related vandalism. Just saying this doesn't seem like a target that a labor supporter would go after. It seems like a garbled message regarding having a monument to folks who tried to break up the Union of states.

-- Posted by SemoExpat on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:32 AM

What if "union" refers to the one the south tried to secede from? That seems far more likely than a union/labor related vandalism. Just saying this doesn't seem like a target that a labor supporter would go after. It seems like a garbled message regarding having a monument to folks who tried to break up the Union of states.

-- Posted by SemoExpat on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:33 AM

http://www.semissourian.com/story/177280...

Vandals represent PC double standard.

-- Posted by mobushwhacker on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:37 AM

I suspect the genesis of this is less about hatred and more about abject stupidity.

-- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 8:42 AM

SemoExpat, of course it was about the Civil War, no one is debating that. And I'm sure it was out of stupidity more than hatred but it still dishonors my ancestors and everyone with Confederate ancestors from SE Missouri. I'd be equally as angry if this was done to a Union memorial as I have an ancestor that fought for the Union from the Shawneetown area.

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 10:03 AM

No but you sure can against a group of people.

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 10:23 AM

What kind of ignorant fool does this?

-- Posted by riverdog on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 10:36 AM

Which isn't the case here

-- Posted by Spaniard on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 10:53 AM

Hate Crime - noun - a crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward a member of a gender, racial, religious, or social group.

I would say people with ancestors that fought for the Confederacy easily count as a "Social Group".

-- Posted by Pops90 on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 11:51 AM

This had to be done by a bunch of uneducated idiots. Uneducated because they don't know anything about Missouri history and idiots for thinking this was cute or cool or going to prove anything except their stupidity.

As silly as it may sound, this monument needs to be in a museum somewhere, not on public property. Many, many people in this area had ancestors on both sides of the Civil War and just as many had ancestors fighting for NAZI Germany in WWII. Yet, it would not be PC for them to display a Rebel flag, white supremacist symbols, or a Swastika on their own property. So, why is it OK to be openly displayed on public property?

-- Posted by malan on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 12:50 PM

Perhaps this monument should be kept in a case of some sort so this won't happen again.

This had to be kids.....kids do stupid things and some have no respect for anyone's property. I wonder if their parents will be proud of them when and if they are caught.

-- Posted by Bickiestew on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 2:42 PM

You can look at your own photo to get the correct Latin spelling right, folks. It's "In Memoriam." Cape has a long history of this sort of thing; drunk college kids knocking over headstones in cemeteries, etc.

History usually isn't pretty, but it teaches lessons. Trying to paint over its long shadow is destructive and ignorant.

-- Posted by J.R. McLoughlin on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 3:49 PM

wasn't the guy that broke the windows out at the islamic center a few years ago charged with a hate crime?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 4:28 PM

@ malan

In regards to your comment, "...it would not be PC for them to display a Rebel flag, white supremacist symbols, or a Swastika on their own property. So, why is it OK to be openly displayed on public property?"

How is a monument in memory of Confederate soldiers the same as a a "white supremacist symbol" or a Swastika? The Confederacy and the flag were associated with slavery, which no one doubts now, was wrong. But the soldiers fought for much more than slavery alone.

-- Posted by ,n sense on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 5:53 PM

,n sense, My point exactly! The Rebel flag is no more a symbol of wrong than the Stars and Stripes are a symbol of right. But, the narrow-mindedness of many will not allow it to stand unmolested.

Look up the history of the Swastika or of other symbols used by various groups. You'll find them totally innocent. Their undesirability is only because of the groups they are associated with. So, unless we are willing to allow the display of any and all such symbols, none (except the American flag) should be allowed on public property. Just my opinion.

-- Posted by malan on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 6:37 PM

I toured the Civil War Museum and Union Cemetary in Vicksburg monday. Wonder what would have happened it I would have pulled a stunt like that down there?

-- Posted by Mowrangler on Wed, Oct 12, 2011, at 10:08 PM

Anyone see the man with a confederate flag and a sign saying, "stop the hate" in front of the monument today?

-- Posted by FunkDaddy on Thu, Oct 13, 2011, at 1:02 PM

When it's allowed to be open season on Confederate monuments and symbols, the haters, like the NAACP, use it to say that their constant fake whining and complaining about being "offended" is shared by the community. They are Confederophopes who trade in hate and misinformation for their own agenda of power and influence. All CSA veterans are USA veterans,too, and deserve honor and respect. When Confederate symbols are ordinary, familar features of the civic landscape again, then the healing begins.

-- Posted by tampadave52 on Mon, Oct 17, 2011, at 11:01 AM


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