ORANGE, Texas — A Confederate memorial with flags and columns will soon stand on private property on Interstate 10 despite objections from some local residents in the East Texas city of Orange.
Funded by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the memorial will feature 32 waving flags representing Texas regiments of the Confederate army, along with 13 columns for each Confederate state.
The columns already stand on land near Interstate 10, visible to drivers entering Texas from Louisiana. “I don’t like it. I think it’s a bad idea,” Orange City Attorney Jack Smith told the Beaumont Enterprise in a story published Sunday.
While some residents complained about allowing the memorial to go forward, city officials said they could not have stopped the memorial without inviting a lawsuit.
“Sometimes we don’t like somebody’s free speech,” Smith said. “But we can’t stop it.”
Marshall Davis, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Texas division, estimated the cost of the memorial at $50,000, raised through private donations, including memorial bricks purchased by local residents whose ancestors fought in the Civil War. Orange is 100 miles east of Houston.
While some residents say the memorial evokes an ugly legacy of violence and discrimination, defenders say it’s important to preserve the South’s history.
“The more education about the South and what they were fighting for, the more compassion people will have for the Confederates and what they did,” Davis said two years ago when the monument was being planned.