RICHMOND, Va. — Following the closure of the fast food establishment, the iconic hat from the Arby’s on Broad Street is set to top off the Jefferson Davis statue on Monument Avenue, officials announced early Monday.
Susan McGhee, a spokesperson for the Richmond City Council, announced the plans at an event hosted on location at Monument Avenue, where she explained that the large ten-gallon hat that has long illuminated Broad Street in the evening hours was a treasure that needed to be preserved.
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“That Arby’s has been a landmark for people traveling up and down Broad Street for years,” McGhee stated. “We’re not sure if anyone ever actually ate there, but that large hat was pretty damn cool when it lit up and is practically a monument in itself. As a result, it deserves a place on Monument Avenue, and what better pairing than with the man who led a rebellious group of southerners against the United States government in the 19th century?”
“Now everyone will get to enjoy a 10-foot tall brown hat representing roast beef along with the rest of our city’s rich history on Monument Avenue,” she added.
The hat is scheduled to be officially moved when the restaurant is razed to make room for a Wawa gas station, but according to McGhee, Davis has already had a test run with the hat.
“We already tried it out on him, and it fit perfectly,” McGhee continued. “We didn’t have to make any alterations. We also wired the Davis monument to the city grid so we can light the hat up at night.”
The announcement was met with near unanimous approval, with many applauding the increased diversity it will bring to Monument Avenue.
“More monuments are good, right?” Museum District resident Karl Shannon said in an interview at the event. “At least it’s not another Confederate chump or a chicken bone or something.”
The Virginia Flaggers, who have consistently opposed any kind of alterings or removals of the street’s Confederate monuments, were also in attendance and reacted positively to the news.
“Now we’ll get to see our brother Davis when we stand around his statue at night,” Duncan Tootie, a senior Flagger from Varina, said in response to the announcement. “This isn’t changing history, either, it’s just expanding on it. Ol’ Davis would be proud and would see this as a belated victory for the South.”
“And to be honest, the hat compliments him fairly well,” he continued. “Plus, it makes me hungry for a few roast beef and cheddar sandwiches. When does Arby’s close again?”
Given the positive response to this change, the Richmond City Council has drawn up plans to mount a Waffle House sign over the monument to J.E.B. Stuart.
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