Alabama just got a new Confederate memorial, even as similar monuments have sparked protests and violence elsewhere. AL.com reports that more than 200 people attended the unveiling Sunday of a stone dedicated to “Unknown [Alabama] Soldiers” with the Confederacy at Confederate Veterans Memorial Park in Crenshaw County. “That’s why we’re here is to honor our Confederate dead, to honor our ancestors,” David Coggins, a Sons of Confederate Veterans member, told the crowd. Five cannons fired as a red cloth was lifted to reveal the monument, the AP reports. Coggins, who owns the land on which the park was built two years ago, says the ceremony was planned months ago and was unrelated to the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Va. “We have been really scrutinized for the past two weeks,” a commander of the state chapter of the SCV tells AL.com.
Dozens of attendees wore Confederate dress and waved Confederate flags. Sporting camouflage and body armor, about 10 members of the Three Percenters militia stood watch “in case anything were to happen.” There was no reported violence. Organizers barred reporters from using video and other cameras apart from cellphones. A local resident says he turned out to honor soldiers who died fighting for the South. “The thing is nowadays everyone wants to take the monuments down, so we’re just glad that they’re down here doing this,” he says. “It’s to let people know that what our ancestors did was not in vain.” (Cops “never moved” after gunshot in Charlottesville.)