If Walls Could Speak
The monument was erected in 1867 by the Territorial Legislature to honor those who gave their lives defending New Mexico in the Civil War and Indian Wars. It was placed in the most prestigious spot in Santa Fe: across from the Territorial Capitol (Palace of Governors).
The first trouble came in 1909, when Southerners started protesting the word “rebel,” used three times in the inscription. They wanted it changed to “Confederate.” The governor refused, saying it would be absurd to change a historical monument.
Another outcry erupted in 1973 over an inscription honoring those who died fighting “the savage Indians.” Politicians who wanted the wording changed clashed with historical interests that resisted tampering. In the end, neither side won. The monument stayed as is until a year later, when a vandal chiseled away the word “savage.” Yet, as recently as 2000, campaigns have been launched to remove the monument because it can be interpreted as a glorification of war.