Diffusing the Powder Keg:  St. Augustine and Chapel Hill

David R. McCallister, Chairman
Heritage Defense Committee
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Florida Division

Dear Historic City News Editor,

In light of the recent events in Chapel Hill, it is time for the commissioners of the City of St Augustine Commission to reconsider the plan they adopted to label the Plaza de la Constitucion memorial a symbol of “white supremacy”.

When the City adopted that plan, they put a target on St Augustine.  By your actions, you have invited Antifa and their terrorist allies to come to town and destroy the cenotaph placed by the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine; like was done on the UNC campus at Chapel Hill on Monday, and in Durham last year.

No one wants a “monument to white supremacy” in their town.  But that is not what the City of St Augustine has. We all know it is a lie – it is just a memorial to townspeople who died in military service.

David R. McCallister

The un-holy contextualization “compromise” made by four sitting commissioners is a waymarker to the destruction of one of St Augustine’s precious, authentic historical artifacts.

Those who attended or watched the videos of our recent protests have seen the “Take ’em down Jax” mob promise to “do it like Durham”. You have also witnessed New Black Panther Party leaders, brought in by an AME pastor, parading through town reminding us of “Ferguson”.

The City Commission has been warned.  If the City Manager continues down this path, he and the Commission will be culpable for the destruction of taxpayer property and a riotous mob that will endanger peaceful residents and visitors.  Does the oldest city in our nation really need to be re-branded like “Chapel Hill” or “Charlottesville”, or Ferguson”?

Those who followed the North Carolina cases realize that the first step to the historical vandalism that occurred there is by re-branding a war memorial into a symbol of “white supremacy”, as the City Commission has done.  This label must be rejected.  It is not accurate, and it promotes violence.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a legitimate stakeholder in the Plaza Memorial, with members residing in the corporate limits of the City of St Augustine, has studied the adopted plan and has provided documentation refuting the validity of the Plan.  I have made numerous requests to appear to discuss our Study and our concerns about the Plan, but have been ignored. 

Perhaps now the Commission will see more clearly the ruinous path they are on and reverse course.The City of St Augustine would not be alone if they decided to ignore the demands of “Take ’em down Jax” and their allies.  Pensacola, for example, diffused their powder keg by ignoring demands to discuss abolishing or altering its authentic history and St Augustine must and should, as well. 

“The Commission can diffuse its powder peg by reversing their decision.  They should protect authentic history and reject rebranding history as hate.”

David R. McCallister