This letter was sent to news outlets and across social media on June 21, 2020. It was well received.
A few days later, the St. Augustine City Commission voted 3 to 2 to remove, which very well may destroy, the historic obelisk. This Memorial was created for and dedicated to the Sons of St. Augustine, who fought and died in the Civil War:
Will the Historic City’s City Commission be hijacked by fear and intimidation?
I am a veteran teacher of 25 years. At my school, we have a motto: “Do the good, learn the true, and love the beautiful.” We say every day, after we say the Pledge of Allegiance. I try to lead my students by example, and it is the “do the good” part of the motto that keeps echoing in my mind.
I am not seeing “the good” being supported in St. Augustine. In the past couple of weeks, there have been several protests regarding our historical monument to the Confederate war dead, who are considered American soldiers. Threats to public safety, of the destruction of the city, and of assaults have been made. I am still waiting to hear back from the City Manager, but it appears the roads were illegally blocked as well.
Suddenly, deciding the fate of a war memorial is a top priority for the City Commission. A decision was made just two years ago, and now apparently because of the threat of unruly behavior and illegal actions, the City Commission feels the need to consider it again. And let us face this fact: I have spoken with a builder, and if there is an attempt to move the War Memorial that is almost 150 years old, it will most likely be destroyed.
Let me get back to “doing the good.” Our City Commissioners should be representing the people who elected them. I have been an advocate for public safety for almost 4 years now. I have made phone calls, had meetings, sent emails – you name it. For the most part, The City Commission has ignored me. My emails have not been replied to, no follow-ups have been made, and very little action has taken place. Then last week, a mob that I suspect is made up of mostly non-residents, comes to town. They break laws, play anti-police music, threaten to burn the city down, and suddenly they are recognized and on the City Commission agenda eight days later.
City Commissioners are elected by the residents of the City and they have an obligation to their constituents. It is the City Commission that needs to “do the good,” listen to their constituents, and support the Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida. If the City Commissioners vote to remove the war memorial, they will be neglecting their obligation to the electorate. In addition, they will be sending a signal that if you misbehave, act in a lawless manner and instill fear in our city, you will get what you want.
What happened in Minnesota was certainly wrong and criminal, and the wheels of justice are turning in Minnesota. It has nothing to do with those young men from St. Augustine who died fighting for their Country over 150 years ago. If our city leaders allow one historic marker to be removed, vandalized or destroyed, all our history will be placed in jeopardy.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Historic City Resident, Veteran Florida Educator, and Candidate for St. Augustine City Commission Seat 1