The last Confederate soldier guarding Raleigh’s Union Square was gently lifted off his 75-foot perch to the cheers of onlookers Sunday.

For 125-years, the towering monument stood among a handful of other Confederate participation trophies on the state’s old Capitol grounds. After protesters ripped down two soldier statues stationed lower on the monument Friday, Governor Roy Cooper ordered the remaining Confederate memorials removed Saturday.

Statues commemorating the women of the Confederacy and Henry Lawson Wyatt were taken down that morning, just some of many white supremacist monuments being forcibly and voluntarily toppled in cities nationwide following weeks of Black Lives Matter protests.

Crews blocked off Hillsborough Street early Sunday morning to take down the last soldier spared by Friday’s protesters mounted at the top of the “For Our Confederate Dead” monument. A crane slowly plucked the soldier from its pillar, spurring cheers from the crowd. as it was lowered to the ground. It was then carefully placed on the back of a flatbed truck as onlookers sang “We are the Champions.”

Over the next five hours, piece by piece of the granite tower was taken down. As of 1 p.m., the longest chunk of the obelisk still remained standing.

This is a developing story. 

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