Bill McGoun | CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | Citizen-Times

Sylva Sam stands near the top of the long staircase that leads up the east side of the old Jackson County Courthouse. The location is appropriate. People can look either up to or down at Sam, depending on where they stand.

Sam is a Confederate soldier. Reconcile Sylva, which describes itself as “a coalition focused on unifying the community members of Sylva,” wants Sam removed. The Jackson County Unity Coalition, which says it was formed to “honor and protect their local history from the creeping totalitarianism we see permeating our national discourse,” wants Sam to stay.

The town of Sylva voted 3-2 to ask the county to remove Sam. The county demurred on a 4-12 vote, but did agree to cover the Confederate flag etched into the statue’s base with a plaque describing the county’s role in the Civil War, probably with a list of local troops. The words “Our Heroes of the Confederacy,” which appear below the flag, will be removed.

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