By Valerie Baldowski
A special event is planned, this Sunday, around the monument on The McDonough Square.
The 100th anniversary celebration of the Confederate soldier monument, sponsored by Henry County chapter 2411 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Charles Zachry Camp 108 Sons of Confederate Veterans, will begin at 2 p.m.
The unnamed statue at the top of the monument will be the focal point of the activities, said Linda West, a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
"He symbolized our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, cousins, and our ancestors, and the history of our country," said West. "In rededicating the statue on The Square, the emphasis is on honoring our history, and remembering the veterans and fallen soldiers who lived at a time when the United States had issues over states' rights. [This led] to the creation of the Confederate States of America, and ultimately, the war between the states."
The United Daughters of the Confederacy chapter erected the monument a century ago, said Helen Busbin, president of chapter 2411.
"The Confederate soldier atop the monument represents our ancestors of Henry County," said Busbin. "Anything that happened in the past is part of our heritage."
The scheduled speakers for the event include McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland, Civil War historian Mark Pollard, and Linda Kennedy, president of the Georgia division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
During the event, a 100th-anniversary plaque will be unveiled, and there will be a 21-gun salute.
"The monument in McDonough was erected in 1910 by the McNeel Marble Co., of Marietta," said Pollard. "Two other monuments, similar to the one in McDonough, were also erected in Cochran and Eastman, Ga., by the company. The soldier on the McDonough monument doesn't have a name that I know of, but it is very similar to the two other monuments located in Cochran and Eastman."
Pollard said there are several theories behind why the soldier faces a certain direction.
"The significance of the monument in McDonough is the fact that the soldier on the monument faces south, while most other soldier monuments in Georgia face north," he explained. "There are many factors as to why the soldier on McDonough's monument faces south. One is the fact that Col. Charles T. Zachry, a prominent Civil War leader and icon of Henry County, was buried in the McDonough City Cemetery, and the soldier simply faces his grave, as out of respect.
"One theory was that Reconstruction was very bad in Henry County, and the soldier was positioned south in defiance," Pollard added. "Another theory was that facing the soldier southward was simply a mistake by the monument company that erected the statue."
Sunday's activities will also include music and a presentation of Confederate state flags.
Busbin stressed the importance of sharing McDonough's Civil War history with others.
"With much of our history being changed, I'm reminded of the famous quote from Gen. Lee: 'Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations,'" Busbin said.