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Arizona Still Has 1 Confederate Monument On State Land

Only one of four confederate monuments on Arizona state property is still standing.

Despite calls to remove it, the state has not made any attempt to deal with the controversial monument in a state-run Sierra Vista cemetery, which displays the confederate battle flag with the inscription: “in struggle for independence and the Constitutional right to self government.”

Veteran Sarah Pacheco says she wrote to the Department of Veterans' Services in June inquiring about the procedure to have the 10-year-old monument removed but has received no response. 

“To say that the Civil War was about states' rights or self governance is totally false. It's about slavery. It's about defense of slavery, period. And it has no place in a cemetery that honors our veterans,” Pacheco said. 

Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller said he is divided on the issue.

On one hand, the mayor said he has no problem noting that there may be Confederate soldiers buried there. Whether that's true remain unclear as the remains, dating to the 1800s, were moved from a cemetery in downtown Tucson more than a decade ago to make room for a new courthouse complex.

But Mueller said it's not that simple.

"I can understand the verbiage on that may be offensive to some people,'' he said. Mueller also believes it is wrong to leave out reference to the war being fought over slavery, saying it instead focuses on what was a "romantic'' vision of the antebellum South.

Ducey has pushed back for years at the idea of removing Confederate monuments from state property.

"It's not my desire or mission to tear down any monuments or memorials,'' the governor said when controversy first arose in 2017. "I don't think we should try to hide our history.''

Months ago, Gov. Doug Ducey said he wanted a "public process'' to decide the future of any markers or memorials. But Ducey press aide, Patrick Ptak, acknowledged Tuesday that Ducey has yet to offer one.

The other three confederate monuments on state property were either removed by the Daughters of the Confederacy or stolen.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.