The chaotic confrontation between a white supremacist rally and a group of counter-protesters at Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of a paralegal and the injury of several others from the latter group, had its roots in a great issue. The neo-Confederate protesters had gathered in the city’s Lee Park to speak out against the planned removal of that park’s central feature, an equestrian statue of the Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The celebrated military officer is an icon of sorts for many white supremacist groups.

However, the man’s own great-great-grandson currently holds a dissenting opinion from the protesters who want to keep the statue where it is.

From parks to museums

Robert Lee V, 54 and athletic director for a school in Virginia, stated in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy that was tantamount to agreeing with the removal of his great-great-grandfather’s statue at Lee Park. In his opinion, it would be much better and less conflicting for all parties concerned if any imagery of famous leaders and officers of the Confederacy during the American Civil War were transferred from public displays to the inside of museums.

In Lee V’s opinion, he is certain that eventually a decision will be made on the matter of all Confederate statuary by lawmakers.

He has also expressed his sorrow at the senseless violence that erupted in Charlottesville and other places across the United States because of the passionate feelings for and against these monuments. “If they choose to take those statues down, fine," remarked Lee V. "Maybe it's appropriate to have them in museums or to put them in some sort of historical context in that regard."

Matter of legacy

The “Unite the Right” rally held by white supremacists in Charlottesville last weekend had drawn an equally sizeable crowd of counter-protesters.

A certain Alex Fields Jr. then rammed his sports car into a portion of the counter-protest crowd, wounding 19 and killing local paralegal Heather Heyer, 32. Fields have been charged with her murder, of the second degree, along with hit-and-run and malicious wounding. In the aftermath of the violence, President Donald Trump’s commentaries only seemed to inflame the current tensions when he assigned blame to both sides and describing the counter-protesters as a group of “alt-left.”

Meanwhile, several more locales across the country with statues of Confederate heroes are now passing resolutions to have these removed from public places.

Robert Lee V, speaking for his family as descendants of his namesake, have expressed that they are proud of their heritage but unlike the supremacists who were present at Charlottesville, they have not allowed his legacy to define them.