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Monument to Confederate soldiers removed from Garfield Park

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The monument known as the PAX Monument to many people around the Garfield Park area is gone.

It was moved to Garfield Park 92 years ago from its original location in a downtown cemetery as the city was starting to expand.

With the assistance of a huge crane and several ropes and straps, the Confederate monument that has stood at the south entrance to Garfield Park came down piece by piece on Monday.

Ann Holy, of Indianapolis, just happened to be in the area when she noticed the equipment circling the monument: “I think it is terrible. I think it is destroying American history, especially the history of this city and this park.”

A special excavation company hired by the city had removed more than half of the monument by mid-morning. The city said the monument is going into storage at an undisclosed location.

Holy and a friend, Debby Nachenhorst, put their day on hold to watch the deconstruction of the monument.

“It is a day of mourning; it is a day of sadness, if they could have found a home for it,” said Nachenhorst.

The PAX monument had once stood near downtown over the graves of 1,616 Confederate prisoners of war who died while being held in Indiana. Nachenhorst said regardless of what side the soldiers were on or what they fought for, the monument was intended to be a symbol of peace after the Civil War.

“This is a piece of American heritage that is gone forever now, and once it is taken to its hiding place, who knows? We will probably never see it again.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett on Friday announced the city would remove monument right away.

According to a release from the mayor’s office, the monument was originally commissioned in 1912 and then moved to Garfield Park in 1928 by public officials who were active in the KKK and wanted to make the monument more visible.

Nachenhorst started a petition asking the mayor to move the monument elsewhere and not tear it down.

“This monument reminds me of justice. People finally had a little peace, so it represents what everyone is fighting for right now. I don’t understand why this was such an issue,” said Nachenhorst.

On Monday afternoon, a small group of longtime Garfield Park residents gathered to watch the monument come down. A few came to get a piece of the monument before it was hauled away.

The question that remains to be answered: Where are the six bronze plaques that held the names of 1,616 soldiers the monument was built to commemorate?

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