Bentonville residents react to removal of Confederate statue

KNWA

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Confederate statue that’s stood in Bentonville’s square for more than a century has been relocated.

While the statue’s removal has been a contentious topic, many Bentonville residents said they’re pleased with how the situation was handled and feel it’s a win for everyone involved.

I am happy and ecstatic that I can now bring my family to this square and we can feel welcomed.

SHEREE MILLER, SHAME OF BENTONVILLE MEMBER

Standing together, the Bentonville community watched as their city’s centerpiece was taken down Wednesday, September 2.

There’s a lot of mixed feelings about it.

JUDGE BARRY MOEHRING, BENTON COUNTY

Some people, like Jessica Raychek, observed with great emotion.

“I’m watching this statue come down and I’ve got tears in my eyes over it,” she said. “It’s a good day.”

While others like, Attorney Joey McCutchen, stood optimistic.

“I think it’s sad,” he said. “I don’t think we can erase history and I think that’s what we’re not doing today.”

McCutchen represents the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

He said the UDC came to this agreement so that the past could be preserved.

Whether we agree with history or disagree with history, we need to respect history and we need to learn from history. 

JOEY MCCUTCHEN, ATTORNEY, UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERATE 

Ultimately, McCutchen said he was pleased with the way this long-time battle came to an end.

“This thing wasn’t removed in the cover of darkness or disrespectfully,” he said.

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said he agrees.

“Both parties worked toward the solution,” he said. “That’s not happening in other parts of the country.”

It’s a piece of history that has different meaning to different people.

I feel like justice has finally happened.

SHEREE MILLER, SHAME OF BENTONVILLE MEMBER

That’s no longer the centerpiece of Bentonville’s city square.

The statue will be relocated to a new private park next to the Bentonville Cemetery, where form Arkansas Governor James H. Berry is buried.

After its relocation, the Benton County Historical Society will own and operate the park where the monument is displayed.

Attorney McCutchen said he’s excited about the statue’s next chapter.

“The only reason that the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to this so history would be preserved,” he said.

McCutchen said the park will include a water foundation and a wall to honor Confederate veterans.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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