Yesterday, the statue of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, was removed from its pedestal in Richmond, Virginia.
The twenty-one-foot-tall statue of Robert. E Lee was removed from its position on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
It comes after long-drawn-out protests to remove the statue have been taking place due to it being seen as a symbol of racial injustice.
After 131 years on its forty-foot pedestal, the thirteen-ton statue was hoisted and removed by crews in around an hour, WTVR reports.
Watching as the statue was taken to the ground, large crowds that had gathered began to cheer.
Once brought to the ground, it was sawn into multiple pieces and transported to an undisclosed location.
In a statement about the removal, Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, noted that the statue was the last Confederate statue remaining on Monument Avenue.
The morning before the Robert E. Lee statue’s removal process begins. Photo by Regina H. Boone/ Richmond Free Press #morningbefore #roberteleemonument #statue #monumentave #robertelee #richmondva #rva #blkrva #richmondfreepress #history #virginia #virginiahistory pic.twitter.com/JXLgqNEvtP— Richmond Free Press (@FreePressRVA) September 7, 2021
"The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people," Northam said, as per CBS News. "It is time to display history as history, and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future."
Despite the constant protests, the removal of the statue has sparked a divide in opinions.
Crowds cheered as a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from a pedestal where it had stood for 100+ years.— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 8, 2021
Virginia promised in 1887 & 1890 to maintain the statue forever. The state’s supreme court ruled that obligation no longer applied, paving the way for Wednesday’s removal. pic.twitter.com/XwT6TbmZ9i
While some have praised the removal and deemed the statue as "a big pile of scrap/junk," others have argued that it should have stayed due to it being part of "history."
Among those was Donald Trump who claimed that "our culture is being destroyed."
Trump, in a lengthy statement, decries the removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue, calling it "magnificent."— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 8, 2021
"If only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan... What an embarrassment we are suffering because we don’t have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!" pic.twitter.com/cRoLoUp5br
In a statement posted to his website, Trump said he had "watched as a massive crane took down the magnificent and very famous statue of 'Robert E. Lee On His Horse' in Richmond, Virginia."
"It has long been recognized as a beautiful piece of bronze sculpture," he said. "To add insult to injury, those who support this 'taking' now plan to cut it into three pieces, and throw this work of art into storage prior to its complete desecration."
The removal was first announced last year following nationwide protests against police brutality and racism that were sparked after the killing of George Floyd.
LEE STATUE REMOVAL: Here's the view atop a building on Monument Avenue showing the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.— NBC12 WWBT Richmond (@NBC12) September 8, 2021
Thanks to Megan S. Johnson for sharing the video. pic.twitter.com/evft2MXBnJ
Since then, it has been a rollercoaster of difficulties in the form of court challenges. However, the Virginia Supreme Court eventually ruled that the state should continue with its removal plans.