Robert E. Lee statue will stay in Ft. Myers

Posted at 10:41 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 22:43:08-04

Ft. Myers city officials have no plans to remove a bust of Confederate General Robert E. Lee located right across the street from the Harborside Convention Center.

The debate comes up after city officials in New Orleans began the process of removing a large statue of Lee, along with other Confederate era statues.

"They're trying to hide what really happened, and it happened," said Bobbi Gentile.  "It's just like the Confederate flag, it existed."

Other Ft. Myers residents say voters should make the call whether the statues should stay or go.

"Let the majority of people take a vote," said Chuck Moorefield.

Defenders of Confederate symbols like the rebel flag and General Lee say it's about heritage not hate.  However with so many white supremacist groups using their symbols for their cause, some are wondering what's behind the push to keep painful reminders of the past in place.

"If the person has a negative intention behind it, and they're portraying hatred, then I feel like it's offensive to others," said Miriam Olupiten.

Robert Gates, with the Ft. Myers chapter of Sons of the Confederacy, says removing these symbols is "purging" our history.