The memorial statue of a Confederate soldier standing on the Bulloch County Courthouse square will be once again discussed during a Bulloch County Commission meeting.
During the last Bulloch County Commission July 7, there was standing room only as supporters of Major Woodall, a 21-year-old Georgia Southern University student who created a petition to remove the statue, as well as a number of citizens who want the statue to remain, some bearing Confederate flags, passionately aired their concerns.
This time, Mike Mull, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Ogeechee Rifles camp 9541, is on the agenda to speak about the statue.
Woodall was not listed on the July 21 commission meeting’s agenda Friday, but said he plans to speak before the commission during its Aug. 4 meeting, hoping to persuade commissioners to move towards forming a committee to discuss the statue’s removal. He claims the statue does not represent all Bulloch County citizens.
“The statue is property of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, is protected by Georgia state law, and we will not budge,” Mull said. During the July 7 meeting, he said to move the statue would cost at least $175,000 and moving it could endanger the statue’s structure.
The issue of the statue’s future was almost pushed to a back burner when state NAACP president Francys Johnson, representing Woodall, demanded people carrying Confederate flags leave the meeting, calling the flag a “Southern swastika.” Commissioners voted during the heated meeting to remove the flags from the room after Johnson stated to allow the flags to remain would “open doors” for people bringing “ISIS flags, gay pride flags and anti-abortion flags” into the county meetings.
Many people who spoke during the meeting focused on the flag’s meaning to them, as well as how they felt about the statue’s future.
Woodall said he believes leaders of both groups will be able to come to an agreement. “The goal is to get a vote to form a committee” to discuss removal of the statue, he said.
The statue has stood at the corner of the courthouse square since 1909, when it was placed there by the United Daughters of the Confederacy as a memorial to the soldiers who lost lives during the Civil War. Those in opposition say the memorial is a reminder of dark days, racism and slavery. Supporters claim the statue represents all races of those who died during the Civil War.
Bulloch County commissioners have taken no action regarding the statue.
Also on the agenda for the meeting Tuesday, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. in the Bulloch County Annex, are approval of alcohol license applications, approval of a mutual aid agreement between the Bulloch County and Pembroke fire departments, and comments from John Smith concerning disc golf. The meeting is open to the public.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.