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Petition started to remove Confederate statue in Fort Smith

The statue of the Confederate soldier has stood in front of the Sebastian County Courthouse since 1903.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — After news the Confederate monument in the Bentonville Square would be moved, there's now a petition to move the one in Fort Smith that sits in front of the Sebastian County Courthouse.

“I think it’s important with recent events that we start to discuss these things and look at how we pay respect to our history,” said Danielle Hoopes, who started the petition.

The statue of the Confederate soldier has stood in front of the Sebastian County Courthouse since 1903.

Danielle Hoopes says she thinks the statue should be moved because it doesn't reflect what Fort Smith is about.

“I view this and the people who are with me view this a divisive structure and it would be better placed in a Civil War museum or a Confederate cemetery someplace else,” Hoopes said.

The petition was started a week ago and at last check, it has more than 200 signatures with a goal of 500.

The Fort Smith statue is owned by the United Daughters of Confederacy who say they have no plans on moving it.

Attorney Joey McCutchen, who represents the United Daughters of the Confederacy, says the statue represents the loss of life during the way and it also stands for the fight for our homes, families and businesses during that time.

“What we can’t do is start erasing history because we learned from history," he said. "We can’t start destructing monuments…where does that lead to? What monument is next, is it the Jefferson Monument? When is the flag, when is that symbol going to come down?"

Hoopes says she hopes that as the United Daughters of the Confederacy move the Bentonville monument, they will also decide to find a new home for the one in Fort Smith.

“We are looking for a more diplomatic solution," Hoopes said. "We aren’t looking to tear it down or destroy it. We would just like it to be moved somewhere where it doesn’t become a semblance of what we believe here because we don’t believe those things the confederacy believed.”

Those wanting to keep the statue have also started a petition.