While Black Lives Matter and other anti-American groups called for the removal of statues and a mural that honor Iowa and America’s history, heritage and heroes, about 60 Iowans gathered on the south side of the Capitol to express appreciation of the statues.
Richard Rogers organized the event about 24 hours before Saturday’s gathering.
“I was aware that the radical Left had planned a demonstration, for which they had a permit and a perfect right to do today on the west terrace of the Capitol,” Rogers said. “I’ve been a little concerned that we might see some of the same activities here on the capitol grounds, these beautiful monuments, that we have in other states. And when I saw this protest being arranged, I thought ‘well, it’s time for somebody to present the other side. The view of others in the community who appreciate these statutes or at least think there’s a proper method for changing public art.'”
Rogers said around noon on Friday he decided to arrange something since nobody else had. He brought out his Gadsden Flag, which he said he resurrected from the Tea Party days.
In addition, he said those who gathered wanted to stand in support for the rule of law and that violence is not the way to get things done.
When he was 16, Rogers started going up to the Capitol. About 12 years ago he returned to the Capitol to serve as a volunteer lobbyist on behalf of the Second Amendment.
The monuments, Rogers said, can be toured virtually online. He said Iowa sent more military-age men as a percentage of the population to the Civil War than any other Union state.
“That’s something that should not be forgotten,” he said. “We had an awful lot of Iowans who died to save the union and end slavery. I don’t think people learn about that anymore, they don’t seem to care about it. And that’s the purpose of monuments — to recall.
“Our forefathers did the things that are memorialized by these monuments. Our fathers paid for these monuments to memorialize their fathers. We should not just willy-nilly tear them down or demand that they be removed.”
With less than 24 hours notice ahead of a Saturday, Fourth of July holiday, Rogers was thrilled with the gathering.
“It was very informal, very pleasant as most of these type of events are,” he said.
Rogers added that, upon arrival, Patriots were accosted by someone from the other side.
Overall, though, it was a great day for those who appreciate the history, heritage and heroes of our state and nation.
Black Lives Matter members never really crossed the street to where the Patriots were. The bust of Christopher Columbus, which is one of the monuments that the anti-American groups want to see removed, was never threatened.
Toward the end, the BLM group went to the edge of the street on their side, but never crossed over to the side of the Patriots.
BLM attendees expressed concern on Twitter about “right-wing vigilantes” and “white supremacists.”
Regardless, it was obvious the presence of Patriots, along with law enforcement, kept the anti-American contingent away from the Columbus bust.