MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Marshall County leaders had a new wrought-iron fence installed to protect veterans monuments and flags outside the courthouse in Albertville.
The four-foot tall fence cost about $3,000.
Commission chairman James Hutcheson told News 19 it is the final piece of a renovation project that started in 2017.
He added that it has nothing to do with the ongoing protests about the Confederate flag and monument.
On Veterans Day, protesters stood and chanted atop the American Legion War Memorial, which honors veterans who died while fighting in World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars.
“I was a veteran during the Vietnam War for four years and I appreciate all the veterans,” said Hutcheson. “I thought that was very, very disrespectful especially on Veterans Day. You couldn’t have done anything worse in my opinion.”
An Operation Iraqi Freedom US Army combat veteran would not go on camera with News 19, but said the American Legion War Memorial means a lot to area veterans as it represents fallen family members who died fighting for freedom.
He added that he believes a state law should be passed banning the desecration of war memorials and veterans monuments and tombstones.
Hutscheson said the protesters’ acts are proof his concerns are valid about possible injury or property damage.
Less than two weeks later and just days before another protest where activists demanded the removal of the Confederate flag, county crews installed a barrier.
However, Hutcheson said that the ongoing battle surrounding the Confederate flag has nothing to do with why the fence was installed.
“This is to protect the monuments, the veterans monument and all the flags up out there, so I’m not saying what will happen in the future, but this is just a conclusion of a project we’ve been having going on since 2017,” explained Hutcheson.
He added that it is a small part of a bigger plan to improve the courthouse out front and inside the building.
“I’ve got some work inside the courtroom. Some of the ceilings have a couple leaks in the roof. We’re still working on that. Of course, the building is 100 years old. It’s like your house, you’ve got to work on it,” said Hutcheson.
The fence will remain locked and no one will be allowed inside.
Also, things like coats and flags are not allowed to be hung on the fence.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office told News 19 that if anyone does climb over the fence they could be charged with misdemeanor trespassing and face a fine.