Strengthening county unity was the repeated theme as the Warren County Courthouse Memorial Committee met on Courthouse Square Monday evening.
Members gathered in a circle of chairs not far from the base of the former Confederate monument they are tasked with determining how to replace. They will present their recommendation to the Warren County Board of Commissioners.
The monument was removed in sections beginning in June until nothing but the base remains. In August, the county board of commissioners formed the Memorial Committee to include representatives of each of the county commissioner districts and at-large members.
The committee consists of the following: Richard Hunter, Tilda Hendricks, Victoria Lehman, Jereann King Johnson, Ronnie Terry, Al Cooper, Mary Knight Goode, Mike Hairston, Dianna Talley, William (Bill) Kearney and Horace Cheek.
Committee members noted that it will take a good amount of time to determine what would be best for the county. Tare “T” Davis, chairman of the county board of commissioners, thanked committee members for being up to the task.
He challenged the group to consider what they would like future generations to see as a reflection of Warren County in the early 21st century.
“What can we do together to symbolize who we are as Warren County?” Davis asked.
County government liaison Angelena Kearney-Dunlap invited committee members to talk about what they want the committee to accomplish. Bringing the community together in unity was the top priority.
Members wanted to develop an idea for something to be placed on Courthouse Square that would stand the test of time in order to reflect the community as it is now.
Others noted that whatever will replace the Confederate monument will be located in a public space, an area that is supposed to bring people together. Several members observed that Courthouse Square in located at a major intersection, and that passing motorists will be left with a lasting impression of Warren County based upon what is placed there.
Several members suggested that what is erected on Courthouse Square should show Warren County as an example for other areas of the country as a place where its diverse community maintained cohesiveness during a time when divisiveness was common in other areas.
Committee members said that they would like their recommendation to reflect the county’s rich diversity, provide healing and reconciliation, and look toward the future with hope.
The committee elected the following officers to lead its work: Richard Hunter and Bill Kearney, co-chairmen; Tilda Hendricks, vice chairwoman; and Dianna Talley, secretary.
The committee decided to conduct virtual meetings twice each month, but has not determined the date of its next meeting.