Locals, travelers get last-minute photos, reflection before Robert E. Lee statue comes down

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of people were out near the Robert E. Lee monument Tuesday getting last minute photos and reflecting one final time while the full sculpture is in tact. It’s the largest Confederate monument in the U.S. still standing.

Until Tuesday, foot traffic around the memorial had slowed down a bit after a barrier blocking people from entering the circle was put up months ago.

“I wanted to get a picture of it in its last moments,” said long-time Richmonder Susy Meyer, adding that she’s a bit sad to see the statue go but is looking forward to seeing what takes it’s place.

“I can see why people wouldn’t care for it but I can also see that it is history and we have to have some history still in tact,” she said.

10th grader Anna Carlisle was visiting with her mother from Virginia Beach Tuesday. “It just goes to show how times are changing,” she said.

That was her first — and last– time seeing the monument in-person as it stands.

“In the photos you just kind of see it through a screen and you don’t really get to see all the emotion,” she said.

Georgia Thompson Bates was at the circle snapping pics to show her family’s future generations. “I just wanted to see history in the making,” she told 8News.

Thompson Bates and others said they hope for peace and unity in the Richmond community once Lee is gone.

“[I hope] that we can finally agree and come to terms of being unified in some way,” Meyer said.

“I genuinely pray that this coming down will bring some healing process or the beginning of something better for this state of Virginia,” Thompson Bates said.

The Robert E. Lee monument the day before its removal, Sept. 7, 2021. (Photo: Alex Thorson/WRIC)

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