SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Jared Cantrell, a Springfield resident, created an online petition asking the Springfield National Cemetery to remove its Confederate statue. The statue was built in 1901 in honor of Missouri soldiers and General Sterling Price.
Price was an officer who led the Confederates in the Battle of Wilson Creek in Springfield on August 10, 1861. It involved 5,400 Union troops and 12,000 Confederates. The Confederates won, and many men who died in the battle were buried at the cemetery. The tombstones of the Union troops can be found on the north side of the cemetery, along with a monument. The south side is where the Confederate soldiers are buried. In the middle is the statue Cantrell is petitioning to remove.
“I feel like this sometimes sends the wrong message,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell says he started the petition to see how many people would be interested in supporting his cause. 1,026 people have signed it. His original goal was 1,000.
“Which I know doesn’t carry a lot of political clout,” Cantrell said. “Just because we’ve got several signatures on an online petition, it wouldn’t make [the statue] magically go away.
In Cantrell’s petition, he directs his message at Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, Springfield city council, and representative Crystal Quade.
“It is time to remove a monument that, for over 100 years, has cast an oppressive shadow over those that stand before it,” the petition states in part.
KOLR 10 reached out to the City of Springfield, to which they responded: “The City/Mayor has no jurisdiction over the National Cemetery.”
Cantrell acknowledges that the cemetery is federal property, belonging to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The fact that this is a federal cemetery means the monument should be removed even more,” Cantrell said. “Because now they have a monument of an enemy of the government. I just feel like it’s out of place.”
Cantrell says now the signatures he received online is just phase one. The next step is to see which local leaders are interested in supporting the case. Then, this will potentially be brought up to the federal government.