Community remains divided over Franklin monument removal

People attend the Franklin City Council meeting on 8/21/17 (WLWT)

FRANKLIN, Ohio (WDTN) — The decision by a Warren County city to remove a confederate memorial continues to generate debate inside that community.

A standing room only crowd packed the Franklin City Council meeting on Monday night. The crowd was so large that several people, and media outlets, were forced to stand in the hallway during the meeting.

General Robert E. Lee Memorial in Franklin/WLWT

Several people voiced their concerns with the city’s decision to remove the General Robert E. Lee memorial marker from Dixie Highway. Some of those people say they want the monument returned to its original location.

“I just feel wronged by the whole thing that we wasn’t given a choice or a voice in what was happening,” Franklin resident and Marine veteran Randy Collins said.
Collins says he views the memorial as a piece of history, honoring Civil War veterans.
“Civil War veterans by law, by our government are recognized as United States veterans and deserve the same respect as United States veterans deserve,” Collins said.
For others at the meeting, the removal was a positive step for the city.
“Robert E. Lee did fight for the confederacy and did they support slavery and even though we don’t have slavery today, a culture of anti-blackness still exists,” Franklin resident Rachel Feltner said. 
Even people like Feltner, who were happy to see the monument removed, say they were troubled by how the city handled the situation.
Several people said they wanted a more open process from the city, before decisions like this are made.
“What we’re having tonight should have happened first and then where we could have made a decision as a community about what we want to do and where we can look at the role of the marker and role of that marker in Franklin history,” Franklin resident Doug Greathouse said.
During Monday’s meeting, council members could not tell people what Franklin Township did with the memorial, where the memorial is being stored or what, if anything, will be done with the memorial in the future.
 
Franklin Township’s next council meeting is on Thursday night at 6 p.m.. Several people at the Franklin City Council meeting say they’ll be asking questions in Franklin Township as well.
“We’re asking you again as a community, are you going to send someone over to the township building and represent us?,” Franklin resident Robert Fisher, Jr. asked the council on Monday night. “Yes, we’re all going but it’s nice to see a city official actually do their job.”

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