A group that honors Confederate veterans has placed flowers at the base of the recently toppled Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam," which formerly stood on the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The News & Observer reported that the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans placed the flowers Saturday morning. The group said in a statement to the newspaper and other local media that the flowers were purchased with "hundreds of individual donations."
“These donors wanted to do something to show their sadness for what occurred on August 20 as well as to appreciate the sacrifice of these students of the University who were American veterans,” the group said.
The "Silent Sam" memorial had stood at UNC Chapel Hill since 1913. The statue had been at the center of protests and calls for removal that intensified over the past year following a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school had spent a reported $390,000 on camera surveillance and security around the statue, according to the News and Observer.
"Silent Sam" was torn down Aug. 20 by protesters who called it a racist symbol.
On Friday, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt strongly hinted that the school won't return the statue to the main quad where it used to stand, but said she is looking for a "safe, legal and alternative spot" for the Confederate monument on the school's campus.
"Silent Sam has a place in our history and on our campus where its history can be taught, but not at the front door of a safe, welcoming, proudly public research university," Folt said.
A plan for the re-installation of "Silent Sam" will be presented to UNC System President Margaret Spellings and the Board of Governors in November.