Letter: Please reconsider vote that will deface 140-year-old memorial


Letter: Please reconsider vote that will deface 140-year-old memorial

David R. McCallister
Temple Terrace, FL
Special to Historic City News

Dear Mayor Shaver and Commissioners of St. Augustine,

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a nationwide organization with a Florida Division and local Camps, including one in St. Augustine. As the legal successor organization to the Confederate Veterans organization, the United Confederate Veterans, we are stakeholders in your memorial.

Although I attended the meeting on the 9th, 3 minutes was a vastly insufficient amount of time to discuss the Contextualization Plan. After all, it took the Committee months to develop the Plan; certainly 3 minutes is insufficient to analyze it. Additionally, the very short time window from the final publishing of the Report until your action on it was also insufficient to fully digest and analyze the Plan.

St. Augustine, as Florida’s and the country’s oldest city, is quite rightly a flagship for historical activity and preservation. The nation looks very closely at what you do. The thought that only immediate citizens have a right to be interested in what St. Augustine does ignores us as stakeholders and hundreds of thousands of other Americans who are concerned about how you treat St. Augustine, Florida, and even, American history.

Of course, we are concerned that our organization was excluded from “the table” when the Plan was developed; and, pray that upon reflection and review of the enclosed Analysis, you will, in sober, calm second thought reconsider your July 9th decision and let the Cenotaph speak for itself. Other communities in Florida and around the nation have done the same. Pensacola, for example, has come under pressure to remove and/or re-write their history, and they have withstood the demands, as we hope you will, as well.

As I mentioned on the phone to some of you, we are hearing about a massive backlash and I and our organization are concerned about the potential negative effect it may have in the community. None of us want another “Charlottesville”.

Many, many people are watching you, including Kevin Levin, who appears to be “coaching” one of your Committee Members, Michael Butler, calling in plays from out of town. I am well aware of Mr. Levin, he is a lead perpetrator of the lie that no people of color served for the South, which of course, St. Augustine knows is incorrect. In fact, two of your black Confederates drew a Veteran’s Pension from the State of Florida for their service during the War.

Our members, local, State and international request that you please read and consider the enclosed report, and act in the best interests of St. Augustine and your constituents.

Thank you for your consideration,

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

cc: Cmdr. Kelly Crocker
Florida Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans

Cmdr. James Kimbrough
Gen. William Wing Loring Camp 1916
Sons of Confederate Veterans