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Monday, May 20, 2024

Confederate memorial at Bicentennial Park vandalized

It appears the Confederate memorial at Bicentennial Park in Williamsburg had been vandalized.

An “X” was spray-painted on top of the crossed Confederate battle flags and the letters “BLM” was spray-painted on the base of the memorial.

When the vandalism happened is unknown.

WYDaily attempted numerous times Friday morning to contact city officials and the Williamsburg Police Department.

Police spokesman John Heilman, City Manager Andrew Trivette and Mayor Paul Freiling, the mayor, were not immediately available for comment.

All of their phone numbers rang and went to voicemail.

Vice Mayor Doug Pons said he was unaware of the vandalism.

“Well so you caught me off guard, I didn’t realize it had been,” he said. “I haven’t checked my emails.”

Police Chief Sean Dunn, also was not immediately available to answer questions — he said he might not get a response to WYDaily until later Friday.

“I’m starting a video conference right now,” he said, adding he has another meeting at 2 p.m. “Try John (Heilman) again, that’s probably your fastest way.”

WYDaily also contacted the city’s Public Works department but and no one was available to answer questions.

The memorial was erected on the Palace Green in 1908 by the Daughters of the Confederacy and is dedicated to Williamsburg and James City County’s confederate soldiers and sailors.

It has moved to various locations in the area  through the year, from outside the former location of the Williamsburg-James City County Courthouse and then to where the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum now stands.

The monument was again moved in 2000 to its current location where it is surrounded by trees in the small park.

The Williamsburg City Council this week discussed starting the process of removing the memorial.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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