BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Bentonville Police are investigating damage to part of a Confederate monument in the Bentonville Square. It appears the bottom of the statue's musket is missing.
5NEWS was told the vandalism happened last week.
“It’s just not necessary to do. Everybody is entitled to their opinions, but this is our history, this is our town history, personal history and I don’t think someone has the right to take that away from you,” Nancy Rhodes said.
Nancy Rhodes says the statue of James H. Barry is something she’s been looking at her whole life.
“It’s not funny if it was a joke. Okay, so you could do it. It’s destroying what we know as our history when it comes right down to it,” she said.
Steve Wawryzniak is visiting the town and once he noticed the bottom of the musket was missing he was disappointed, but not surprised.
“It’s this craziness going on that people feel these confederate monuments or anything having to do with it need to be destroyed. I see too many people trying to destroy and change history is wrong. There are a lot of people that died. Were they themselves wrong that they were doing it for their country,” he said.
The monument has been the center of controversy in the community.
Petitions to remove the statue circulated in 2017 following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to one person's death.
A cannonball was taken from the monument in 2017 but was later found nearby.
A plaque on the statue dedicates the monument “to the southern soldiers” and James H. Berry, a civil war officer who later became the only Arkansas governor from Benton County. Berry also served as a legislator and an attorney.