What everyone seems to be overlooking is that the monument in Munn Park is a cenotaph stating, "The Confederate Dead, 1861-1865."

A cenotaph is a monument erected in memory of a deceased person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. Our monument was dedicated on June 3, 1910, by Attorney General Park Trammell, Lakeland's native son who became Florida's governor, who gave a patriotic 12-page typed speech. A copy and letter of authenticity was presented to the City Commission by Ashley Troutman.

We must go on the truth that Mr. Trammell spoke of and should not rely on hearsay. What proof is offered that this monument is not what it represents, a monument to the dead? Do news articles or diaries tell a different story? There is no evidence to that fact. We cannot judge people that lived a hundred years ago when there is no evidence to dispute.

This monument does not represent hate but serves a purpose in our history to honor men called to duty, who served and sacrificed for their country. Monuments are solely put in prominent places to honor those who returned home and a place to grieve for those who did not by the city or citizens to show their appreciation.

While the South lost the Civil War, its people did not lose their respect for the soldiers who fought and fell in defeat. War statues and tributes are not about winning, ideologies, political correctness or racism. They stand for the veterans' devotion. Everyone who died in the Civil War was an American and we should never forget their service to their community and country.

Please make the right choice and leave the monument in Munn Park. Take Ashley Troutman's suggestion, made during a City Commission meeting, and add to the story. Let us stand in unity to honor our American veterans.

Sheila Tindle, Lakeland