“It is exactly the right thing. This is where we are in society, and our board of directors firmly believes that changes do not just have to be made for economic reasons.”

Martin O’Toole, a Georgia division spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, says other entertainment venues have suffered even more financially over the past year than the park.

“Before COVID came, they didn’t have a presence problem,” O’Toole said of the park. “I think they are trying to blame COVID as an opportunity for them.”

“What I find most objectionable is their desire to contextualize the park, since Stone Mountain Memorial Park – the Confederate Memorial Park is the full name of the statute – is protected by law,” said O’Toole. “What you have is a number of people who would like to get rid of it,” but they can’t because it’s protected by law.

“So they want to take everything into their own hands,” said O’Toole.

The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has a vision for the park outlined on their website. That idea includes a heritage park, something like Williamsburg, with actors in period costume and reenactors in uniform.

For the Sons of the Confederation, the symbols in the park represent “the victims of the people of the South during the war and those who served in the military, such as my ancestor who went to Elmira Prison,” a Union prisoner at the war camp in New York, said O’Toole, and other relatives had their houses burned down and their property demolished.