Chairman Lance Thate informed Historic City News this evening that their signature vessel, the “Dartmouth” usually stationed in the parking lot at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument for special patriotic events like the July 4th fireworks, will instead be mobile this holiday weekend since the fort lost its battle with COVID-19 and the Commissioners of the City of St Augustine cancelled the acclaimed Fireworks by Santore; who have been creating breathtaking pyrotechnic displays internationally for over 125 years.
Not to fear, Thate says. The volunteer group, which includes the Town Criers, will be joined by some local patriot celebrities this July 4th. If you are available to help staff the replica ship and ride the float, contact Thate by e-mail for further instructions.
“As you know, three members of the St Augustine City Commission, Mayor Tracy Upchurch, Vice Mayor Leanna Freeman (who voted 2-years ago to keep and protect the 1879 Veteran’s memorial in the Plaza de la Constitution), and Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline (who also voted 2-years ago to keep and protect the 1879 Veteran’s memorial), have decided to abandon their obligation to preserve our city’s authentic, historical landmarks,” Thate announced. “Because of its 141-year-old brick and stucco construction, the removal translates to destruction — as all or part of the artifact will likely crumble.”
Thirty-eight descendants of the forty-six local soldiers named on the 1879 Veteran’s memorial have joined the Veterans Council of St. Johns County Inc. and the Ancient City Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, in a lawsuit against the City of St Augustine asking for an immediate, temporary injunction to stop the City from disturbing the second-oldest cenotaph of its kind in Florida.
The lawsuit has gained national attention in the media and social media. It was filed naming Jill Pacetti as personal representative of the surviving family members and the two veteran organizations after the city manager, John Regan, took action to board-up the four sides of the memorial, purchase more than $5,000 in chain-link fence to barricade the memorial, and contracted with a Green Cove Springs home moving company for more than $162,000 to relocate the memorial.
As our response to this government abuse of power, the Dartmouth will be on the streets, or at the Fort, or both — depending on the developing situation. Last week, the city police department abused its authority; ordering memorial offerings, including American flags, to be torn down and disposed of with the refuse collected from the Plaza. There was a Facebook video posted by one member.
The Saint Augustine Tea Party welcomes the participation of both the 3% Militia, and Proud Boys, who have committed to be with us and provide security. Representatives from Save Southern Heritage, one of the plaintiffs in another lawsuit against the city, is going to be at the monument Saturday morning. Civil War heritage activist, H K Edgerton is also returning to St Augustine.
“Failure to stand up now will guarantee the loss of our Liberty,” Thate concluded.