A plane with a banner that references Silent Sam was spotted flying over Chapel Hill on Sunday morning.
The small plane carried a banner behind it with a Confederate battle flag and the words “Restore Silent Sam Now.”
Silent Sam, a Confederate monument that sat on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus for more than a century, was toppled by protesters in August. Before that, the statue saw several rallies that developed after the 2017 toppling of a similar monument in Durham.
Kevin Stone, North Carolina Division Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, took credit on Facebook for the flight and said he was proud to fly on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, which coincides with Veterans Day.
“If you are in the Triangle today keep looking as he will be in the air for a couple of hours showing the citizens of NC that ALL Veterans Matter and that those brave men who were called to serve their Country deserve to be honoured!” Stone wrote on Facebook.
Since Silent Sam came down, UNC’s campus has been the site of some contentious events between pro- and anti-Silent Sam factions.
UNC officials are still determining the statue’s fate. Just this week, officials extended the deadline for a detailed plan for its future location.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans “demand” that Silent Sam be return to its McCorkle Place pedestal on the Chapel Hill campus, according to a statement sent Sunday afternoon.
“The ‘University of the People’ and its property belong to North Carolina’s citizens, not a violent mob,” according to the group’s statement. “Silent Sam honors American Veterans and his desecration is no different than that of any other Veterans memorial.”
The statement continued: “(Those who) fought and died in the War Between the States were the ‘real’ Tar Heels. They brought honor and meaning to a once derogatory nickname - a nickname from which the University profits.”