SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s a statue called “Silence” and it has stood the test of time after being placed in Laurel Grove Cemetery in 1879. But this week, it was vandalized with spray paint and part of the statue’s hand was broken.
It’s now become part of the controversy over Confederate monuments and or symbols.
The statue was actually part of the original Confederate monument at Forsyth Park which was dedicated in 1875. The final report of the Confederate Memorial Task Force issued in 2017, said “Silence” was placed on the second tier of the monument.
The task force report indicated that “Silence held her right forefinger to her lips and her left hand held an inverted torch signifying the time of desolation and destruction of war had passed.”
Another statue named “Judgement” was placed on the top of the monument, also in 1875.
A few years later, however, decisions were made to change the Forsyth monument and put a statue of a solider on the top. The other two statues were moved.
“Judgement” was given as a gift to the city of Thomasville and “Silence” was moved to Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah in 1879. The task force report indicated at the time, the statue was being moved to “be placed on a pedestal over the Gettysburg dead at Laurel Grove.”
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told us Friday he is concerned about the incident.
“It is illegal plain and simple. Again, we have other ways for people to express their displeasure,” he said. “Our police department will be investigating it and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We cannot stand for anything that belongs to the public to be defaced.”
Some people took to Facebook after seeing a post from someone associated with a tour company. The post suggested donations might be in order to help repair the statue and that the city should do more patrolling of its city-owned cemeteries.
Johnson would only say that the city is “sure that we are maintaining proper surveillance on all of our city’s properties and structures as we go through this changing time.”
Last month, a statue of a Confederate general at Forsyth Park was also vandalized. That statue had been placed at the Confederate soldier memorial in 1910. No arrests have been made in that case.