Monday, September 18, 2017

A Sunday walk through Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas

For more than four decades, a statue of  Robert E. Lee stood on this pedestal. Now, it's gone.
An empty pedestal in Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas.
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On a beautiful, deep-blue sky Sunday at Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas, a police officer warily eyes a visitor, who inspects the massive, granite pedestal where a Lee statue had stood for more than four decades.  To help prevent mischief (or perhaps worse), a Dallas P.D. surveillance camera stands watch across the busy boulevard from the general's longtime home. Three days after the 6-ton bronze sculpture of Lee and an unknown Confederate soldier on horseback was hauled away, the controversial, city council-approved move still stings many.

Guard dog in Robert E. Lee Park? Not quite.
On this morning, the throaty roar of planes taking off from nearby Love Field fails to distract dog walkers and the curious.

A man from Australia, now a resident of this diverse area, shoots photos of the empty pedestal with his iPhone. A Michigan State football fan walks his terrier, glances at Lee's name in granite, and hustles away. Another man, also walking a dog, eagerly discusses Lee's departure from Lee Park.

Well aware of the white-hot Civil War monument controversy, the police officer wonders why he's here to watch over an empty pedestal for the MIA general.

And an early-70ish woman grieves.

In Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas, a 2/3-size replica of
 Arlington House, Lee's home in Arlington, Va.
Asked her thoughts about the removal of Lee's monument, she leaves no doubt where she stands. "It's horrible," says the member of the Dallas Southern Memorial Association, who used to call rural Texas home. "The statue wasn't about slavery. It was about relatives honoring their soldiers." Its removal, she insists, was a "back-door" move by politicians who don't know what they are doing. She wonders if Lee's name, as well as the old plaques on the pedestal, will soon be removed from the park, too.

"Roll Tide!" she says, glancing at a visitor's ballcap, before walking a short distance up the hill toward the 2/3-size replica of Lee's home in Arlington, Va.

All that remains atop the pedestal are fragments of concrete and the steel bolts and posts that had anchored the 14-foot Lee monument since 1936. On the rim of the pedestal, two flower arrangements catch the eyes of onlookers. Perhaps they're a suitable, albeit temporary, replacement for a general now in storage at an old airport.

President Franklin Roosevelt attended the dedication of the Lee statue here in 1936.
The Lee statue had stood in Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas since 1936.
One of the two flower arrangements on the massive, granite pedestal.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Was Lee ever in Dallas, or even Texas - maybe to and/or from Mexico?