By Morgan Bryce
A group of Opelikians are working to restore one of downtown’s most iconic landmarks to its former glory.
Opelika musician and resident Dallas Dorsey, along with members of the city’s Robert E. Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, are working to raise $6,000 for a cleaning and renovation of walkways surrounding the cenotaph located next to First Baptist Church on South Eighth Street.
Dedicated in a ceremony conducted by Opelika Gen. George Harrison on April 6, 1911, the monument serves as a tribute to both Confederate dead and Lee County veterans who lost their lives in conflicts far from home.
“As a small child, my grandad frequently took me to the monument, and taught me it’s significance. We took class trips there, from Northside School, and visited it for Alabama history class,” Dorsey said. “ I love it, and feel like it honors our ancestors’ sacrifices and service in defense of their homes, the constitution, etc … I think many other Opelikians feel the same way, and they want to honor our dead and our history.”
To date, Dorsey and members of the Robert E. Lee UDC Chapter have raised nearly $2,000 for the cause through the sale of T-shirts printed at Opelika’s Victory Designs. Those interested in donating can by filling out order forms on Victory’s website www.victorydesigns.com or stopping by their store, which is located at 1525 Second Ave.
“Many of our Confederate Veterans never made it home, and their final resting places are in burial pits on far away battlefields. I’ve seen them at Shiloh, and we even have one in Auburn at Pine Hill,” Dorsey said. “It’s all very poignant to visit those spots, and those experiences make me cherish our cenotaph even more.”