World War I monument could see change because of wording - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

World War I monument could see change because of wording

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - One controversial word was at the center of a public meeting in Florence.

WMBF News was the first to tell you about a forgotten World War I monument being kept at the Florence Legion Post One.

Now, city leaders want to move that monument to the Florence Veterans Park, but before they do some would like to have that controversial word removed. 

One by one veterans and members of the community gave their opinion about the WWI plaque.

It went up in the 1920s and lists the names of service men who fought during the war.

There is a word on the plaque some may find offensive. The 67 names honored on the plaque are divided into two groups, white and colored.

“Sixty seven soldiers gave their lives in WWI from Florence County. You think 1917/1918… Florence County could not have been that big, but 40 to 25 percent of them were African American that is just astounding,” Retired Colonel Barry Wingard said.

There is a word on the plaque some may find offensive. The 67 names honored on the plaque are divided into two groups, white and colored.

“We need to have a new plaque made without the word colored. It is offensive, demeaning and derogatory,” said one public commentator who is for taking the word colored off of the plaque.

“We cannot raise our children or our grandchildren or our future generations to be healthy constructive people if we continue going around trying to hide the past, change the past and hide history,” Bill Pickle, a public commentator for keeping the monument as is, said.

Florence City leaders wanted to find out what the public thinks about the word colored being displayed on the monument.

This is because of the Heritage Act of 2000. It’s the same rule that lawmakers used to remove the confederate flag from the South Carolina State House this year.

The law is also at the center of a lot of attention and a lawsuit in Greenwood, South Carolina.

The city mayor there tried to change the wording on a similar plaque, but it was blocked by the Heritage Act.

Part of that law reads that only a two-thirds vote from the Senate and House can change the wording of a war monument.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, a recommendation will be given to Florence City Council on whether or not to change the monument or keep it as is.

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