Historic City News local reporters have been following growing interest from grassroots patriot groups and individual citizens concerned about the future safety of historical markers in Florida. Some are saying that they never imagined a day could come when vigilantes would act, without authority of law, leaving a string of vandalism and destruction of centuries-old artifacts — but now, they are not so sure.
In St Augustine and St Johns County, we are a group of communities who survive economically because of vacationing tourists, our authentic points of interest and curated collections of genuine pieces of history. Docents breathe new life into the relics of our past, making them believable and understandable to new generations of scholars and explorers.
The threat to our culture has become so unsettling that some organizations, like the Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine, originally formed in 1866, is being reconstituted to preserve the artifacts and contributions of its namesake charitable Association.
On Tuesday evening, January 29th, the Saint Augustine Tea Party and Town Criers hosted Florida Representative Walter Bryan “Mike” Hill, (R-1), who came to St Augustine to explain his recent legislation known as the “Soldiers and Heroes Monument Memorial Protection Act“. Observing that the cultural war on Confederate history is of major importance to the Conservatives that make up the Tea Party movement, Hill identified the Act as HB-97 which can be tracked online.
Representative Hill told the audience that his hope is for HB-97 to end the removal of statues and monuments across Florida. If enacted, the bill would make it a crime to remove veteran monuments and symbols of war from public areas.
During his presentation, Hill recalled an interview on Fox and Friends. The interviewer was interested in exploring the idea that the Representative is “the first African-American” elected in Florida District 1 since Reconstruction. Hill informed the interviewer that he is not an African-American. He is an American.
Hill quoted from the Constitution on several occasions during his presentation. Producing a pocket edition of the document that he was carrying in his coat, Hill joked, “I do not understand why my colleagues in the legislature are not more observant of the Constitution.”