Kneeling soldier memorial in King will soon have a new home

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KING, N.C. — The kneeling soldier memorial in King will soon have a new place to call home.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, the city took formal action to give it to the area's American Legion Post 290.

Last month, the King City Council voted 3-2 to settle a lawsuit brought against the city which led to the removal of the statue from the veteran’s memorial and banned the Christian flag from the site.

Don Holland, commander of the post, said it will take at least one week to move the statue into place.

“We’re going to make another statue too so we have one on each of our entrances,” said Holland.

The city council also got an earful about the decision from some residents and area religious organizations.

“I'm terribly disappointed and from now on we're going to show our disappointment,” said David Keaton, a King resident. “I'm still glad to be here, but I'm going to fight to the end.”

Though many speakers talked about the fight not being over, not one mentioned any kind of recall effort against city councilmembers for their decision not to take the matter to court.

Most said they were disappointed by what the settlement represents.

“We're tired of losing our freedoms,” said Kevin Broyhill, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. “We're tired of being strong armed into giving up the things that are dear to us. I believe that the city of King has not done what was best for King and the cause of Liberty.”

Another resident said it saddens her to see the empty flag pole at the memorial.

“The empty flag pole stands silent in King Central Park this morning or does it? Today it speaks volumes,” said Mary Hughart. “It says minority rules. It says that our democracy is crumbling.”

King Mayor Jack Warren said he does not regret his vote to settle the lawsuit. Last month, Warren said moving forward with the lawsuit would put the city’s insurance policy at risk and could cost the city $2 million in legal fees.

Warren and several other city council members said they did not come to the settlement decision lightly and said they would fight the issue in court if there wasn’t so much at stake.