Colonel Heg descendants re-dedicate Civil War hero statue to the people of Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Colonel Hans Christian Heg statue was officially re-dedicated to the people of Wisconsin during a special ceremony on Sunday at the Capitol.
The statue was torn down after a social justice protest turned destructive outside of the state capitol building in June of 2020. It was re-attached in September of 2021.
Colonel Heg’s third great granddaughter Lori Coffey was one of 25 descendants that re-dedicated the colonel’s memory to the people of Wisconsin.
The Florida resident remembers hearing the news about the statue’s demolishment from her sister.
”I went, ‘Oh my gosh!’ And my heart sank. I thought, ‘Why?’'’ Coffey said. “And then I thought, ‘What would Colonel Heg do?’ I know I want to be angry but that’s not what he would’ve done.”
She hopes the ceremony teaches people that Col. Heg stood for equality for all.
He lead the 15th Wisconsin Regiment to fight against slavery during the Civil War and died from a battlefield injury during the battle of Chickamauga.
”He was a rabid abolitionist,” Coffey said. “He wanted rights of all men and women and for that I think he is still very special today.”
Spectator Keith Bakken came from Mount Horeb to watch the ceremony and said he admires Col. Heg’s legacy because he died for the freedom of others.
”In today’s big push for social justice he was ahead of his time,” Bakken said. ”I think we have to respect our history, learn from it, the good, bad, ugly, mistakes and the good things that came about it.”
Coffey said only two Heg descendants participated in the initial dedication ceremony in 1926.
She said Sunday’s ceremony was the largest gathering of Heg descendants of all time.
The Col. Heg Statue Rededication Committee put on the ceremony and consist of the following groups: Madison Veterans Council, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Dept. of WI, University of Wisconsin Stout, Wisconsin Veterans Museum and Sons of Norway Idun Lodge, among other re-enactment and historical groups.
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