SAVANNAH, Ga. – Days after protests turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, controversy continues through conversations happening coast-to-coast.
On Saturday a group including Neo-Nazis, white nationalists, Antifa and others marched and rallied in Charlottesville. The reported original intent of the rally was the protest the potential removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. On Saturday the group was met with counter-protestors. The groups clashed and later in the afternoon a car crashing into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19 others.
The horrific scenes of violence sent a chill throughout the country, including in the Coastal Empire.
WSAV spoke to two World War II veterans to hear their reactions.
“Well it really makes us think, well what did we fight for? And then we have it here in our own country,” Retired United State Air Force serviceman Frank Paro said.
He said, “It hurt” while watching the chaos unravel in the streets.
“We defeated Nazis. We didn’t think we have them here in the country,” Paro said.
Betty Robartz served in the United States Navy for years during the war. She says while the violence and hate seen on Saturday was ‘horrible,’ it did not shake her of history fighting the Nazis in Germany.
“Never bothered me. They had their ways, we had ours and we won and that was it,’ she said.
For Paro, the rally and the fall-out is a double edge sword of freedom.
“They got free speech so there’s not much they can do about it except send the law in and let them take care of it,” he said.
Both look to future generations and their faith as a way for peace in the midst of violence.