A monument honoring Confederate veterans has been removed from Hollywood Forever cemetery days after deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. prompted in part by clashes over the planned removal of a statue there of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Long Beach chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which owns the local monument to Confederate soldiers, agreed to have the iconic cemetery take it to an undisclosed location, said Theodore Hovey, family service counselor at Hollywood Forever.
“It was a mutual agreement; the situation had become untenable,” Hovey explained. The cemetery’s view “was that we could not necessarily guarantee a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere for our families, and our visitors and employees with its continued presence here — and the Daughters of the Confederacy were very concerned about the monument’s safety.”
The monument was “slightly vandalized” on Tuesday with the word “No” written on it by a magic marker, which was likely easily removed, Hovey said.
“I think that was one of the turning points for the owner of the property realizing it was very vulnerable,” he said. The cemetery has received “probably hundreds” of calls and e-mails both in support and in opposition of removing the monument — but the majority of people have urged its removal, he said.
There were two online petitions calling for the removal, including one that had gained more than 1,700 signatures as of Wednesday morning. There was also an online petition calling for the monument to remain, Hovey said.
The monument was erected in 1925 for the 35 to 40 Confederate soldiers buried at the cemetery, he said.
It was erected during a period of active efforts on the part of groups like United Daughters of the Confederacy to put up similar monuments around the country. But this one is different than many others, he noted.
“This is in a cemetery amid graves of people buried,” Hovey said. “It wasn’t a monument in a public space, in a park or a square somewhere. It was a very different situation and it required a lot more finesse in having its removal.”