The removal of a 90-year-old, little-known Confederate monument in Franklin was “disgraceful,” and now some American history has been erased, said protesters who showed up in force Saturday afternoon.
On Wednesday, Franklin workers removed the plaque dedicated to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the corner of Dixie Highway and Hamilton Middletown Road in Franklin.
On Saturday morning, near where the monument used to be located, someone stuck several American flags in the dirt.
By 2 p.m., protesters, many of them carrying Confederate and American flags, parked in a nearby shopping center and walked up the street. They waved the flags, and passing cars honked. There was a large police presence from the Franklin Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.
As of 4 p.m., they were no protesters who supported the removal of the monument. Joe Ingles, 32, of Miamisburg, said he was waving a flag as his way of “preserving history and heritage.” He said the protest wasn’t race related.
“This is all about what is right and what is wrong,” he said. “It’s not about hate. It’s about love. It’s about our history. I will not stand by and let somebody delete it just because they were raised up to hate.”
Another protester, Donald Whisman of Franklin, was upset that city and township officials didn’t allow residents to vote whether they wanted the monument removed. He said officials “cowardly came in here and removed a monument in the middle of the night.”
As a way to prevent possible problems in the area, two local businesses, a carry-out and a beauty salon, were told to close at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Franklin Twp. resident Larry Wood helped his wife close PJ Foodmart after police told them to close at 2 p.m. — nine hours earlier than normal — because “all the stuff going on,” Wood said.
Wood said city and township officials should have allowed residents to vote on whether to remove the monument.
“We don’t like when outsiders come into town and tell us what to do,” Wood said. “Lord help us.”
All was quiet this morning at the former site of a Confederate monument in Franklin.
Someone placed several American flags where the plaque dedicated to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee used to be located at the corner of Dixie Highway and Hamilton Middletown Road in Franklin, but there were no protesters.