The national controversy over historical monuments made its way to Rome this week when a Confederate monument atop historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery was cut up and smashed by a person or persons who went to a great deal of difficulty to make their statement.
The statue that was defaced is of a Confederate soldier with his arms hanging down in front of him holding a long rifle upright in his hand. The hands and rifle were cut off and the face bashed in.
“It looked like it was surgically cut,” said Rome City Manager Sammy Rich. "It’s just super disappointing that somebody would go to that much trouble to get up there, put a ladder up or whatever to reach it."
Cemetery Director Stan Rogers estimated the value of the damages at $200,000.
Cemetery department personnel removed the monument Thursday. Rich said the city would try to determine how to go about fixing it and putting it back.
The gates to the cemetery are locked to vehicular traffic each evening but anyone could have made the hike up the hill on foot.
The act of vandalism occurred sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. The rifle and hands were gone when the vandalism was discovered Thursday. Rich said he doesn’t know how to read the incident because of the way they broke up the face.
The statue was erected by “the Women of Rome” in 1887 as a memorial to the defenders of the Confederate states. The women’s group maintained the Civil War section of the cemetery. The monument initially had an urn atop the base. It was replaced by the standing soldier in 1909.