American and Confederate flags waved Saturday at an Oak Lawn park where, until last week, a statue of Robert E. Lee stood. The city voted to remove the statue and, after a series of delays, removed it from its pedestal and carted it away late last week.
A group called The Texas Freedom Force organized the Saturday rally and kept the event in place. Some attendees wore period uniforms, and many waved historical flags while others carried modern firearms. Although most assembled for a common cause, attendees offered different views on what the statue meant to them and why they felt it was important to keep it in place.
Frank Elam, 56
Oak Cliff native Frank Elam called the statue a piece of history that Dallas residents wasted money on to remove. “I look at it as a soldier,” he says. “That statue, in the state of Texas, has a right to be there.” He is angry about the nearly $500,000 cost of removal. “The only ones who’s losing is the city of Dallas taxpayers,” he says.
Paul Dupre, 40
Paul Dupre considers Lee to be family. He says his research into genealogy showed the Civil War general is six times his great uncle. “I would like to see the statue come back,” he says. “I think it’s a shame.”
Nita Horn, 70
Horn says the removal of the statue “never should have happened.” She believes that because the statue has been in the park for so long, it should not have been taken out of its place.
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Brian Perkins Jr., 60
Brian Perkins believes the statue was an expression for the people to contemplate the sacrifices of the war. “This is sort of like a cemetery; it’s a sad place,” he says. “You would like to think there is some place on earth that’s yours and won’t be disturbed.”
Kim Taylor, 46
Kim Taylor didn't show up to protest of the statue's removal. She says a friend told her about the rally and she “came to be nosy.” She was happy the statue was gone and wanted hear the other side's point of view in person. “I’m just curious to see what they have to say,” she says.