Thousands Gather In Hopkinsville For Total Solar Eclipse Monday, Aug 21 2017 

Thousands have gathered in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where the total solar eclipse is expected to be at its greatest intensity.

Officials say the city expects 50,000 visitors from 29 countries, 3 territories and 46 states to be in town Monday for a view of the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse to sweep the United States in 99 years.

Brooke Jung is Hopkinsville’s eclipse coordinator.

“This is the point where the sun the moon and the earth will align most perfectly. So visitors to Hopkinsville and Christian County will get the most uniform view of the solar eclipse as it happens.”

Several places in the city and the region were offering viewing areas for the eclipse, including Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area, just west of Hopkinsville.

The eclipse began around 1 p.m. Eastern time and will last about three hours, with eclipse totality lasting about 2 minutes and 40 seconds in Hopkinsville.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin was also in Christian County to watch today’s solar eclipse along with tens of thousands of visitors. He says an estimated $30 million economic impact for the city of Hopkinsville is one positive outcome.

But, he also hopes this event will help the state recruit new citizens.

“Because I truly believe Kentucky we’re 4.4 million people there’s no reason why we can’t be 6.4 million people I mean Tennessee has about 6.4 four million people, Indiana has about 6.5 million people we’re roughly the same size as them geographically from a landmass standpoint. We’ve got room for a couple million more.”

Bevin also praised local law enforcement and first responders for their preparedness efforts citing reasonable traffic volume and no major traffic snarls.

Meanwhile, In Louisville

WFPL News Producer Laura Ellis is spending the week living at the Kentucky State Fair, answering listeners’ questions and offering insight into how the massive annual undertaking actually happens.

She spent the afternoon reporting on how fair-goers are experiencing the eclipse. Here’s some of her reporting:

Live Coverage: Follow The Solar Eclipse As It Crosses The U.S. Monday, Aug 21 2017 

 

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina. Eleven states are in the path of total darkness. Follow the astronomical phenomenon’s journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

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Here’s What You Need To Know About The Total Solar Eclipse Monday, Aug 21 2017 

On Monday, the moon will completely eclipse the sun, and people all over the U.S. will watch.

For those who have been boning up on eclipse trivia for weeks, congratulations. For everyone else, here are the things you need to know about the phenomenon.

Where can I see the eclipse?

A partial solar eclipse will be visible everywhere in the contiguous United States, but to see the total solar eclipse, you’ll need to be in a sash of land that cuts from Oregon to South Carolina.

NPR

A lot of people are extremely excited, and are traveling enormous distances (and paying lots of money) to get to the the so-called path of totality. This is the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. People in parts of the contiguous U.S. last saw a total solar eclipse in 1979.

NASA is also live-streaming the eclipse for four and a half hours, beginning at 11:45 a.m. ET.

Can the eclipse hurt my eyes?

Yes. Never look directly at the sun during the eclipse without appropriate eye protection. And no, sunglasses don’t count. Real solar viewers are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses.

As NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce reports:

“The only time it will be safe to look with the naked eye is during the brief window of so-called totality, when the sun is completely blocked by the moon. … When any part of the sun is uncovered and the eclipse is only partial, viewers need eye protection — even if there’s just a tiny crescent of sun left in the sky, [says Ralph] Chou, [a professor emeritus of optometry and vision science at the University of Waterloo].

” ‘That crescent of sun is glowing every bit as brightly as it would on a day when there isn’t a solar eclipse,’ he says. ‘The difference is that instead of leaving a round burn on the back of the eye, it will leave a crescent-shaped burn at the back of the eye.’

“Don’t think it’s safe to take quick, surreptitious glances, he warns.

” ‘Actually, those quick little glances do add up,’ says Chou, ‘and they can, in fact, accumulate to the point where you do get damage at the back of the eye.’ “

If you’re buying eclipse glasses, beware of scammers selling fraudulent products. The American Astronomical Society has a list of legitimate brands.

Wait, what is a total solar eclipse again?

A total solar eclipse is when the moon, the sun and the Earth all line up such that the moon completely blocks out the sun to viewers on part of Earth’s surface.

It’s easier to imagine with a diagram.

Courtesy of The Exploratorium

We residents of Earth are pretty lucky to see total solar eclipses. A lot of factors all need to align (so to speak). The moon needs to be just the right size and distance from Earth, and that’s before you even consider the cosmic fluke that is humans with eyes living on solid ground and able to turn our faces to the heavens.

And in about 600 million years, earthlings won’t see total solar eclipses anymore, because the moon is still moving away from Earth.

Are scientists really still interested in eclipses?

Total solar eclipses have been happening for as long as humans have been around, but there’s still a lot to learn.

For one thing, it’s a very useful moment for people who study the flaming corona of the sun that’s left exposed during the eclipse. The corona is the outer atmosphere of the sun, and during a total eclipse, the moon exposes part of the corona that is particularly interesting to researchers because it’s involved in space weather.

But the moon moves quickly, giving scientists in any one location just a couple minutes to study the corona. To buy more time, volunteer citizen-scientists will take photos at 68 sites across the U.S. as part of Citizen CATE: the Continental-America Telescopic Eclipse experiment.

“With that many telescopes, you can get continuous coverage of the eclipse from coast-to-coast during totality,” Bob Baer of Southern Illinois University told NPR’s Nell Greenfieldboyce. If everything goes as planned, the CATE team will end up with 93 minutes of continuous total eclipse.

What if I miss the eclipse?

Despair not. There will be solar eclipses visible from parts of the contiguous U.S. on Oct. 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024. The one in 2024 will be a total solar eclipse visible from Texas to Maine.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Surprisingly Human Side Of Geese Monday, Aug 21 2017 

I’m walking by a small, man-made lake in the East End crowded by several generic-looking office buildings. To my right, there’s a busy side-street with the occasional honking car.

And to my left, there’s a flock of about 20 honking geese, and they are members of a local population that — in keeping with national trends — is only increasing.

For many urban and suburban dwellers, the fact that the local goose population is growing, probably doesn’t come as a surprise. You can find flocks of them in neighborhoods, office parks, baseball fields — and maybe even your own backyard.

“To tell the truth, the main factor is we have provided an abundance of habitat for Canada geese,” says Rosemary Bauman, the forest restoration coordinator at Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve and a nature educator.

“(This is) through our efforts to modify the landscape agriculturally, or just simply creating large patches of grassy areas because geese actually graze on the grass,” she says.

Bauman explains that in most urban and suburban areas, there is ample built green space and oftentimes bodies of water — some natural, some not.

This provides a place for the geese to nest and graze that is often free from predators like wolves, coyotes and human hunters.

“And they have just responded as any population would with becoming more and more abundant,” Bauman says.

The fact that there are more geese in Louisville may not be exciting news.

I mean, let’s face it, if you were to make a list of the “most lovable animals,” geese probably wouldn’t make it into the top 10. They’re territorial, a little messy and kind of loud. But it turns out, when you take a look at how geese interact with each other — they share a lot of similarities with humans.

Ashlie Stevens | wfpl.org

Geese in their new suburban neighborhood

University of Kentucky biologist David Westneat studies sexual and social behavior in birds.

“So birds are similar to humans in that they are basically socially monogamous,” Westneat says. “So one male and one female form a breeding unit.”

Westneat lays out the social structure of a typical goose family: You have a male and female adult — who, once paired off, typically remain monogamous for life.

“Sometimes divorces happen — we actually call it ‘divorce,’” Westneat says. “It just means that a pairbond that was there for at least one breeding attempt breaks apart and both individuals pair with new individuals. But in geese that is relatively rare compared to, say, the sparrows that I study.”

And for geese, being monogamous has its advantages. The more experience they have parenting together, the better they get at it — which results in a higher rate of survival for their offspring.

A typical breeding attempt can result in a nest of five to six goslings, which is called a “clutch.”

“And as soon as the young hatch,  the pairs breeding in a local area will congregate around food like a golf course or protection which is a body of water,” Westneat says. “And social neighborhoods form.”

This also has its survival advantages: There are more adult geese to chase off potential predators.

According to Rosemary Bauman, goslings stay with their parents for a pretty long time — at least in the bird world.

“One full season, so that means they migrate with the parents,” Bauman says. “So this is important because, I guess you could say, the flock that migrates together stays together.”

Well, up to a point.

When the geese — now, all fully-grown — return from migration they can get a bit territorial. It’s every gander for himself when it comes to finding an ideal mate, and then the pairs have to stake out prime real-estate for nesting.

Though honestly, that makes them seem all the more human.

Mayor Fischer Announces Public Art Review Process Friday, Aug 18 2017 

Plans for examining pieces of public art to determine if they could be interpreted as “honoring bigotry, racism and/or slavery” are moving forward.

The process will take several weeks and is set to begin on September 6 with a meeting of the city’s Commission on Public Art.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called for the review after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. There, white nationalists held a rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee.

Locally, activists are calling for the removal of a similar statue in the affluent Cherokee Triangle neighborhood. That statue is of Confederate officer John B. Castleman.

“We need to discuss and interpret our history from multiple perspectives and from different viewpoints to broaden our community’s collective conscience and depth of understanding of our history and our varying viewpoints,” Fischer said in a news release.

The meeting of the Commission on Public Art will begin at 4 p.m. at the Old Jail Building in downtown Louisville. Public comment will be accepted during “a portion of the meeting,” according to a city news release.

An online portal is available for residents wishing to submit comments related to the public art review.

There is also a searchable database of all public art in the city.

Following the September meeting, a series of public engagement sessions will be scheduled to “gather further input,” according to the release. Decisions about the future of public art pieces will be made thereafter.

 

Fischer Joins National Initiative To Combat Hate, Extremism Friday, Aug 18 2017 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and some 200 mayors from around the U.S. will take part in an initiative aimed at combating hate, extremism and bigotry.

The initiative is called The Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate and is a partnership between the United States’ Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League.

It was launched in response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

Fischer has denounced the actions and rhetoric of the white supremacists.

The compact he has signed onto includes a 10-point plan binding the mayors to reject white supremacy, denounce hate, celebrate diversity and more.

“As leaders, we must stand up to hate and bigotry – and we must speak loudly and with conviction,” Fischer said in a news release sent Friday from the Anti-Defamation League.

“We have no room for hate or extremism,” he said.

Other Kentucky mayors have signed the compact, including Lexington’s Jim Gray and Frankfort’s William May.

The compact instructs participating mayors to “use the bully pulpit to speak out against racism, extremism, xenophobia, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry.”

Furthermore, it suggests mayors may seek certain restrictions on public protests or rallies.

“This might include encouraging alternative rally sites and placing limits on the rights of protestors to bring weapons to political rallies,” according to the compact agreement.

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, said there are no plans, presently, to enact such restrictions.

“We signed on for the bigger picture,” he said. “There may be lots of ideas, it doesn’t mean all of them will come to fruition or be taken up locally.”

Poynter said the mayors thought it was necessary to develop such an agreement.

“Lot’s of people in Washington aren’t speaking out,” he said. “The mayors decided we have to do something.”

The announcement of the compact agreement comes the same day Fischer’s administration released the first episode of The Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer podcast.

The some 20-minute episode includes discussion about Charlottesville, Confederate monuments and Fischer’s violence reduction strategy.

Calling All Citizen Scientists! Researchers Want You To Listen To The Eclipse Friday, Aug 18 2017 

Many people are looking forward to what they’ll see during Monday’s total solar eclipse. But a scientist from Purdue University is encouraging eclipse watchers to also pay attention to what they hear.

Professor Bryan Pijanowski is a pioneer in the field of soundscape ecology — which is essentially how the sound of different natural locations can tell us about the conditions and wildlife there.

“It helps us to address, among other things, issues of biodiversity, climate change, invasive species,” Pijanowski says.

But one thing Pijanowski and other scientists don’t know much about — other than through anecdotal sources — is how a total solar eclipse will affect the soundscape of North America.

“We don’t know much because there hasn’t been a lot of total eclipses like the one we’re going to see on Monday,” Pijanowski says. “I mean, when you really think about all animals in general, they’re all geared to a circadian rhythm. The sun really directs all of their basic fundamental activities from being awake during the day to sleeping at night.”

And this brings up some interesting questions.

“If it gets to be really, really dark out are the crickets going to start singing?” Pijanowski asks. “And the birds that sing during the day, will they stop? Will we have a complete flip of day and night as we listen? We don’t know.”

To find out, he and his team of researchers — who are scattered all across the continent with recording equipment — are calling on all citizen scientists to help.

Eclipse watchers can download the app “Record the Earth,” use it to capture sound of the eclipse and input any notes.

“If you push ‘upload’ it goes directly to our server,” Pijanowski says. “So we’re going to be able take citizen science observations all over North America. We’re hoping that we get thousands of inputs, because this is going to only be two to three minutes in every location, so I have got to get as many ears out there as possible listening.”

What We Know: Multiple Terrorist Attacks Hit Spain Friday, Aug 18 2017 

Spanish police say they’ve arrested four people in connection to terrorist attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 100 others in and around Barcelona Thursday. Five suspects were killed as they tried to carry out a second terrorist attack in a nearby city.

Police believe the attacks are the work of an organized group of terrorists — and that they acted after an accidental explosion derailed their plans to carry out a bombing in Barcelona.

The current location of the driver of a white van that plowed through a crowd of people on Barcelona’s landmark Las Ramblas boulevard Thursday afternoon remains unknown.

At least one American died in the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday.

“We have now received word and confirmed the death of one American citizen in the terrorist attacks in Spain, amongst those who have been killed,” Tillerson said.

“We express our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of this individual” and to others who suffered from the attack, Tillerson said.

Suggesting there are other American casualties, Tillerson added, “We’re still confirming the deaths and injuries of others.”

Police say three parts of eastern Spain are focal points of their investigation and that events in all of them are linked: Las Ramblas in Barcelona; the town of Cambrils, where a second vehicular attack took place; and Alcanar, where an explosion killed one person Wednesday night.


Here’s a roundup of the situation in Spain; we’ll update this story with further developments Friday:

Suspects

Four people have been detained by police — and none of them had “a history of terrorism-related events,” police in Catalonia said Friday.

Police arrested a Moroccan man whose “identification documents were used to rent the van” in the Las Ramblas attack, NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports from Barcelona.

Five men were shot and killed by police at a roadblock in Cambrils early Friday. They were wearing fake explosives on their bodies, police say.

The four arrested suspects were detained in and around Ripoll, some 65 miles north and inland from Barcelona, according to police.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reports.

Barcelona

At around 5 p.m. Thursday, the van attack killed or injured 112 people, who were from at least 34 countries. In addition to the U.S., the list ranges from Germany and Australia to Kuwait and Peru.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau walked in the city’s central plaza and led a moment of silence Friday, saying she was doing so “with freedom and love for our city and our life.”

Gathered in the sunny Placa de Catalunya, a crowd clapped in unison and chanted, “I am not afraid,” as they marched on part of Las Ramblas.

“Kiosks are reopening on the promenade that was the scene of Thursday’s terror attack,” NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports. “Heavily armed police continue to block the area to vehicle traffic, and scores of tourists can be seen leaving area hotels in a hurry.”

“But the Barcelona airport this morning was packed with arriving passengers from around the globe, suggesting many vacationers refuse to be deterred by terrorism here.

“The head of the autonomous Catalan government here appealed for normality after what Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described as a ‘savage terror attack.’ “

Rajoy and other leaders, including King Felipe VI, attended the Barcelona rally.

On Thursday, Colau said that terrorism “will not stop us from being who we are: a city open to the world,” with courage and solidarity.

NPR | wfpl.org

A man looks at tributes laid on Las Ramblas near the scene of yesterday’s terrorist attack, on Friday in Barcelona, Spain. Fourteen people were killed and dozens injured when a van hit crowds in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona on Thursday.

Cambrils

Around 3 a.m. local time Friday, five men drove a car through a roadblock and plowed down a walkway along the beach in the resort town that is about 75 miles south of Barcelona.

“They hit pedestrians and a police officer, and then flipped the vehicle,” Langfitt reports. “They got out of the car, they stabbed another pedestrian. Police shot and killed all five of these men, and they were wearing fake explosive vests.”

Four of the five suspected terrorists were killed by a single police officer, the Mossos police of Catalonia said Friday. The men had been armed with knives and an axe.

Alcanar

Farther south on Spain’s eastern coast, a house exploded late Wednesday, possibly hastening the terrorists’ plans for an attack, police said Friday. Police believe a jihadist cell was using the house as a location for fabricating explosives. The blast leveled the structure.

The explosion killed a person who police believe was making a bomb; five others were injured.

“The driver of the car in Cambrils, they say, is connected to that explosion,” Frank reports, citing police.

Analysis

From NPR’s national security correspondent Greg Myre:

“Spain had been largely unscathed by Islamist extremism since the 2004 train bombing in the capital, Madrid, that killed more than 190. However, the Basque separatist group ETA has carried out mostly small-scale attacks for decades, and the Spanish security forces have considerable experience in dealing with terrorism.

“Deadly terror attacks in Europe have risen sharply since 2015, and that’s largely because of ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for most of them. These have included highly orchestrated attacks, like the one in Paris in November 2015, where 130 people were killed when multiple ISIS terrorists carried out simultaneous assaults in the city.

“More recently, there have been several vehicle attacks in European nations, carried out by lone terrorists who apparently had little or no formal help from ISIS.

“ISIS began calling for vehicle attacks last fall, providing detailed instructions in its online magazine, Rumiyah, which means Rome. ISIS says it seeks to take over Europe, and Rome holds particular significance as the seat of the papacy.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Lexington Endorses Moving 2 Confederate Statues Friday, Aug 18 2017 

Government leaders in Kentucky’s second-largest city took a decisive stand Thursday night in favor of moving two Confederate statues from their prominent places outside a former courthouse being converted into a visitors center.

The proposal to relocate statues honoring Confederate officers John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge won unanimous approval from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council after nearly three hours of public testimony that overwhelmingly supported the resolution.

The action showed the city is “taking responsibility to do the right thing,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said.

“Confronting our history is often difficult … and uncomfortable,” Gray said. “We all know, in many ways, this war is unfinished. It did not put an end to the vicious and violent reach of unrepentant racism. An important step we can take toward finishing it means facing up to our history.”

People in the packed council room stood and applauded after the vote.

Next Steps

The council’s action isn’t the final word on the issue. The city still has to ask a state military heritage commission for permission.

Two days earlier, the council heard public support for moving the statues from a downtown site where slave auctions were held before the Civil War. The proposal has created some anxiety in this affluent university town after a leader of a white nationalist group signaled that Lexington’s push to move the statues could spur a demonstration.

Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard said extra officers would be present at the council meeting and in downtown Thursday night, but the overflow crowd at the meeting was civil and respectful.

The vote in Lexington comes as cities and states have accelerated their plans to remove Confederate monuments from public property in the aftermath of deadly violence over a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, that pitted white nationalists against counterprotesters.

Gray led the push to relocate the two statues in Lexington’s downtown, and the resolution that cleared the council calls on the mayor to return in 30 days with a possible new location for the monuments. The issue has simmered in Lexington for years, and Gray said he had already planned to bring up the issue this week but moved up his announcement in reaction to the violence in Charlottesville.

Gray’s efforts won an endorsement from a Breckinridge descendant. Gray released a letter from J.C. Breckinridge Prewitt, who expressed his “full support” for the relocation of his ancestor’s statue to a “more appropriation location.” He did not specify a preferred site.

Sam Flora, representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans local chapter, asked that the statues stay put, saying that moving them would be “a sanitizing of the history of Lexington.” He suggested adding a monument at the same site to honor black soldiers who fought for the Union.

Flora also condemned any groups that would use the Confederate monuments “for their own extremist political agendas.”

The state military heritage commission’s next scheduled meeting is in November, but Lexington officials have said they intend to ask for a special meeting in September. The commission is an independent agency attached to the Kentucky Heritage Council.

“Any requests received will be voted on by the commissioners once they have had an opportunity for review and discussion,” the state Heritage Council said in a statement. “Until then, it would not be appropriate for any one commission member … to comment about any possible outcome.”

Lexington authorities have received no requests for permits from any group planning a rally related to the monuments debate, Barnard said. Local police will be ready if a demonstration occurs, he said.

“If they were to come to Lexington, we would plan to have an overwhelming amount of law enforcement … to ensure everyone was safe and had the right to free speech,” the chief said earlier in the week.

The statues of Morgan and Breckinridge are on the lawn of the former courthouse in Lexington. Morgan was a Confederate general and slave owner. Breckinridge was a U.S. vice president under James Buchanan and the last Confederate secretary of war.

Gray initially proposed moving the Confederate statues to a veterans’ park elsewhere in Lexington and to add Union memorials to symbolize Kentucky’s divided allegiance during the Civil War. But he backed off that location after hearing resistance from some in the community.

City officials have been contacted by a donor willing to move the statues at no expense to taxpayers, Gray said.

The Town That Wanted Louisville’s Confederate Monument Friday, Aug 18 2017 

The guys at the Dairy Queen in Brandenburg do a lot of talking.

They meet nearly every morning. They sip coffee, maybe eat breakfast and discuss their world.

On a recent weekday – talk turned to Charlottesville and the aftermath.

The subject has flooded news and conversations just like this one across the country after white supremacists clashed with anti-racists protesters and one woman died.

Mike Dunn said it’s tough to please everyone, all the time.

“We all got our gripes,” he said.

Dunn, 73, has his gripes, too.

Right now it’s with people who want to take down Confederate statues in cities across the country.

He echoed President Donald Trump, asking if people will soon call for the removal of other monuments, like the White House.

“Slaves helped build it, too,” he said.

The other guys here seem to agree.

William Avitt said Confederate monuments aren’t any different than other statues.

“If you’re going to get rid of them, get rid of all statues,” he said.

Avitt, 69, and the other guys are specifically fond of the 70-foot tall monument that sits on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Brandenburg – a small Kentucky town about 40 miles south of Louisville.

Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

The obelisk pays homage to Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.

It was first erected in 1895 and until last year stood near the campus of the University of Louisville. For years, activists had wanted the monument gone – and their wishes were granted last year when the university and city officials announced it’d be moved to a different location.

At the time, it wasn’t clear just where the statue would be moved to. But during a public hearing to figure that out, Brandenburg officials made it clear: they wanted it.

The town now finds itself in an unusual situation – wanting a Confederate monument when many in the world want them all gone.

(Here’s where all of the publicly-supported Confederate monuments are in Kentucky:


“We’re not afraid to stand up for what we think is right and what we believe,” said Debra Masterson, who works with the small city’s tourism department.

She said the city has historical ties to the Civil War. During what’s now known as Morgan’s raid, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed the Ohio River at Brandenburg into Indiana.

“We have this connection,” she said.

Masterson said the city’s history makes it an ideal location for such a monument. She dismissed the idea some hold that Confederate memorials can keep alive sentiments of racism – or slavery. She says it’s art, and they’re beautiful statues. Plus, the one in Brandenburg is bringing in tourists.

“It’s not about black or white, it’s about the green for us, it’s just been a boon for the community,” she said.

The monument today sits on a grassy knoll near the Ohio River. Bronze statues of soldiers flank its sides and another stands atop the monument – gazing south.

Officials unveiled it on Memorial Day earlier this year. Some 400 people attended the event, which included men dressed as Confederate soldiers and a band that played Dixie, a song with lyrics glamorizing days in the antebellum south.

Jack Vanover lives in an apartment just a few hundred feet from the monument and doesn’t have a problem with it.

In fact, the 17-year-old has a pretty clear message to those that are calling for monuments like this to go.

“I guess they’re just too involved with the past, just move on,” he said. “That was then, this is now.”

And it’s not clear if anyone else will have a problem with it, either.

In a conversation with WFPL News earlier this week, confederate monument expert Kirk Savage made a distinction between honoring these monuments in front of civic buildings, and using them in historical parks like this one.

“There’s definitely a place for them in the retelling of history,” he said.

But back at the Dairy Queen, the group of guys isn’t sure what will become of the monument. Mike Dunn says his small town is quiet and peaceful now – but if news is any indication – that may soon change.

“When they tear it down, they’ll be a lot of people to come help,” he said.

He says if other Confederate monuments around the country are coming down, there’s no reason this one won’t, too. Even if they do like it.

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