SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - There was passionate debate over a confederate monument in Salisbury Monday night.
A public hearing was opened to discuss the monument Fame.
Some in the community say they believe it should stay where it is, others say it needs to go.
So many people with differing opinions were expected, the meeting was moved to the civic center where they all came to a head.
Some speakers said they’ve been asking to have one like this for the past four years.
Inside, dissenting opinions were expressed with standing room only.
“There are so many vastly differing perspectives about the confederate monument here in Salisbury,” said Salisbury mayor Al Heggins.
Hundreds of people carried those differing perspectives into the civic center in Salisbury Monday night to finally discuss all together.
“We’ve been asking for this opportunity for four years,” said Emily Ford, a Salisbury resident.
“I am hoping that people will tap into their higher selves and share their noble words," said Mayor Heggins.
Mayor Heggins set that expectation with the crowd then each speaker was given three minutes on the microphone.
Opinions throughout the crowd of about 200, with around 40 lined up to share directly with decision makers.
“If you don’t move Fame you’ve made a choice to not take active measures to protect the citizens," said Ford.
“I repudiate the idea that you can decide the motivation for my ancestors service,” said another speaker. "To try and move this monument to a place where it will be not seen is a slap in the face to their sacrifice.”
When the crowd began to bristle with disrespect, Mayor Heggins called it out and called for all to be respectful.
“Rest assured you are going to hear things tonight that you may not agree with,” said Mayor Heggins.
The debate to leave the statue or move it to another location went back and forth for two hours.
In the past year, the statue has been vandalized and consequently cleaned up by volunteers twice.
“Context” was the key word Mayor Heggins said she came away with from the debate.
Moving forward the mayor and city council members said they are going to chew on everything expressed. they said they do not have a date for a meeting to discuss next steps.