ROCKINGHAM — Before the Civil War monument in Harrington Square could be moved, it was vandalized.
Both sides of the monument were defaced with what appears to be black spray paint sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning. The RO was first notified just before 6 a.m. Saturday.
On the north-facing side, which reads “LEST WE FORGET,” the first two words were marked through, with the word “Don’t” and the letters “BLM” — an acronym for “Black Lives Matter” — painted above and below the last word, to read: “Don’t FORGET BLM.”
The word “CONFEDERACY” was marked through the inscription on the south-facing side, as was the Confederate battle flag at the top.
An officer from the Rockingham Police Department arrived around noon to take photos and file a report.
By 1 p.m., a city employee was at work trying to scrub off the paint.
City Manager Monty Crump announced during the August City Council meeting that the monument would be moved and placed in storage until someone claimed ownership.
The monument was erected in 1930 by the Pee Dee Guards of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Crump’s decision was announced before City Clerk Sabrina McDonald read aloud several emails asking for the monument’s removal, including one from someone who had started a petition to have it moved from public property.
On Aug. 17, Crump announced that VFW Post 4203 had requested to take possession of the monument and place it in Richmond County Veterans Memorial Park.
“We would be honored to display a monument that remembers the residents of our great county who answered the call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Post Commander Eddie Dean and Senior Vice Commander Tim Grooms said in a letter to Crump. “We have a spot in mind, and we will work with you on planning the move if needed.”
Crump said Saturday that there was not yet a clear estimate on how much it will cost to move the monument.