published Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Virginia city weighs Confederate flag-flying limit

By STEVE SZKOTAK

Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Va. — About 100 people rallied Thursday evening in opposition to a proposal to limit the flying of the Confederate flag in the rural Virginia city where Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans organized the “Save our Flags” gathering before the city, which was considering an ordinance to limit flags on downtown poles to just those of the United States, Virginia and the city of Lexington. The proposal has angered defenders of the divisive Southern symbol. It would not limit the flag’s display elsewhere.

“I am a firm believer in the freedom to express our individual rights, which include flying the flag that we decide to fly,” said Philip Way, a Civil War re-enactor who turned out for the late-summer rally clad in a Confederate wool uniform. “That’s freedom to me.”

Mimi Knight, watching from a wrought iron fence at a sea of Confederate flags in a small city park, was not part of the rally. But she said she thought the city ordinance seemed too restrictive.

“These are the things that make Lexington what it is,” she said. “The Confederate flag is part of our heritage.”

Supporters of the ordinance were not apparent at the rally.

The event, which was catered, offered up free hot dogs and blue grass music. Speakers addressed the crowd amid supportive shouts of “Amen.” A flyer promoting the rally depicted Lee with a tear rolling down his cheek.

Officials in this college town of 7,000 insist the flag limits are not aimed at the Confederate flag.

“They can carry their flags anywhere they want,” City Manager T. Jon Ellestad said. The city received hundreds of complaints the last time Confederate flags were planted in holders on lights poles, in January to mark Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday.

People complained “that displaying the Confederate flag is very hurtful to groups of people,” Ellestad said. “In their mind, it stands for the defense of slavery.”

The complaints convinced city leaders they should have clear guidelines governing the flying of flags and banners on light poles, Ellestad said.

Heritage groups such as Sons of Confederate Veterans said the restrictions on the flying of the Confederate flag in Lexington are especially painful because of the two military leaders’ strong ties here.

A Virginia NAACP representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

The NAACP launched an economic boycott of South Carolina in 1999 about the Confederate flag that flew atop the Statehouse dome and in the chambers of the House and Senate. A compromise in 2000 moved the flag to a monument outside the Statehouse. The group’s president says the flag is a symbol of slavery and segregation.

Jackson taught at Virginia Military Institute before the Civil War, where he became widely known as “Stonewall” after the first Battle of Manassas; he died in 1863 from wounds suffered at Chancellorsville along with pneumonia, and is buried in Lexington, according to the website for the Stonewall Jackson House. Lee, who led Confederate forces during the Civil War before finally surrendering at Appomattox in 1865, became president of what is now Washington and Lee University, where he is buried.

“By all means they should be honored in their hometown,” said Brandon Dorsey, commander of Camp 1296 of the Stonewall Brigade of the Confederate Veterans. “I look at the flag as honoring the veterans.”

This is not the first time Lexington, is at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley, has clashed with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The city attempted nearly 20 years ago to ban the display of the Confederate flag during a parade honoring Jackson. The American Civil Liberties Union, which successfully defended the group’s bid to carry the flag, is closely watching this dispute from afar.

“City council could live to regret this ordinance, as it imposes unusually restrictive limits on the use of the light poles,” said Kent Willis, the ACLU’s executive director in Virginia. “Sometime in the future when city officials want to use those light poles to promote a special event they may find themselves handcuffed by their own lawmaking.”

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onetinsoldier said...

I just don't understand any reason to fly a losing battle flag. The first confederate flag was stripes and stars. Not the St. Andrews stars and bars that you see displayed in a variety of sad ways. I don't think people in the North fly many battleflags from the Civil War, and they won.

September 1, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

As late as 1947 the Virginia flag was actually solid blue with a round emblem in the middle. Supporters of the confederate battle flag might be surprised to know that flag didn't make a comeback until the 1950s in protest against intergration. Prior, with the exception of Mississippi having a slightly similar one resembling the confederate battle flag, none of the states flew the confederate battle flag.

September 2, 2011 at 12:14 a.m.
mzungu said...

L4F,

I see you edited your original post in which you tried to imply that the CSA were NOT traitors. They clearly were. They became a sworn enemy of the U.S. when they declared war by attacking Fort Sumter. Anyone who supported them -- then or now -- is also an enemy of the U.S. and guilty of treason. Do you know what the penalty for treason is? You are a man/woman without a country. You tell everyone else to leave or go back to somewhere else yet you insist on your "right" to stay and honor a band of traitors. Don't try to explain that. You are the one that needs to leave.

September 2, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.
osama said...

@ l4f clown, people you cant reason with a racist this l4f clown was against OUR PRESIDENT MR. BARRACK OBAMA bailing out G.M. and saving thousand,s of jobs, so you know he,s one of them confederate flag waiving COWARD GOOD OH BOYS that hates black leadership from martin luther king to President Obama, l4f your mad because your boss was black! the key word (was) "BLACK" now that your out of work your really mad, BRAGGING about $55k son your BROKE!am on vacation this week,your online crying about Blacks everyday you and that other clown doa1980 aka the school bus stalker, where are you guys ladies when your online everyday all day, and when can you work!!every chance you get your posting on line or calling the the online free press staff trying to get BLACK comments deleted, you clown are real jokes two online bully,s with no back bone, two rush limbaugh wanna be that clown rush gets paid to dog blacks, yall are two broke jokes lol now call the lil free paper and cry! the cant delete all black comment one will slip through and expose you clowns! GET A JOB!!PS. DONT WEAR THOSE BIKING SHORT TO THE MAIL BOX TO GET YOUR GOV CHECK! LOL

September 2, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
holdout said...

Though I was born and raised in the south I always found the notion of the confederacy to be repugnant. Robert E Lee was a traitor to his nation, his oath and the uniform he wore up until he left the U.S. Army. General Wheeler was the only one who redeemed himself as far as I am concerned. That said I spent a quarter of a century in the military defending the right of these people to display the confederate flag. Raise your children up to be fair and honest with themselves and others and the confederate flag will fade away into oblivion where it belongs.

September 2, 2011 at 9:59 a.m.
callison said...

Don't bother trying to reason with that Libertarian moron. We all know he's an uneducated redneck, so just let him be. I'm perfectly fine letting him sit in his trailer and spout hatred.

September 2, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

So the next time you call me a bigot

Your posts do that for you very well, L4F.

September 2, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.
mzungu said...

L4F,

Chula Vista sits almost on the U.S./Mexican border. Hispanics make up the majority. As long as the Mexican flag is flown underneath the U.S. flag as dictated by law, there is nothing offensive about it at all other than to the pointy headed racists. By the way, you love to spout history. Did Mexico secede from the U.S. like the CSA did? I think not.

Now, here's where you get caught in your own twisted, pretzel logic. In one post you suggest that blacks also fought in the Confederacy and therefore "their heritage and service should be honored with the Confederate flag". Really? So your urge to fly the Stars and Bars is motivated by wanting to honor black folk? That's like saying Lester Maddox handed out axes at his Atlanta restaurant because he wanted to promote his business in the black community. Or George Wallace and Ross Barnett stood in the school house doors of their respective state universities because they wanted to encourage more blacks to attend. Do you really belive anyone takes you seriously with the garbage you spew?

How many black folks would agree with you? How many black folks that you want to "honor" were at that rally in Virginia? Google that, will ya? And if you are so hell bet in wanting to "honor" black folks, how do you explain your fixation with only posting racially tinged stories in the TFP with a consistently prejudiced tone against blacks?

September 2, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
terrybham said...

The Confederate flag is a part of history and as such belongs in a museum. You lost the war-its over. The rest of the world laughs at such foolish behavior. Get over it.

September 2, 2011 at 12:43 p.m.
osama said...

@l4f the only history you know is the history of you being a COWARD! WHEN DO YOU EARN YOUR $55K YOU WERE BRAGGING ABOUT?? oh i get it, now your a history teacher.lol you broke clown, why dont you apply for a job with the online free press,then you could delete all BLACK comments,you anorexia dwark, i bet you can cross your legs 3 times lol you dont know squat,well you do know red neck, for all thats worth, go under a new name like your booty buddie doa1980, because everybody knows your a BROKE JOKE!!! with too much time on your hand. ps i will look for a reply after the school bus drops the kids off, you peeper

September 2, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
D1Woody said...

If you want to keep mentioning treason then I suggest you look it up. It is a violation of allegiance toward one's country. Do you know why Jefferson Davis was never tried for Treason after being arrested? Because there was nothing in the constitution that forbids secession as pointed out by the Supreme Court. The South did not commit treason by seceding. Furthermore, It is a battle flag. If someone wants to fly it, then so be it. If my ggg grandfather (who owned no slaves nor had the intent) fought and died under that flag then I'll fly it where I damn well please. Not everyone who supports the flag are racist biggots and whoever believes the flag only represents slavery is ignorant. Do I think it should it be flown over government facilities - No. Should you STFU about an individual flying their own on their own property - Yes.

September 2, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
mzungu said...

D1Woody,

Jefferson Davis was charged with treason but the prosecution dropped the charge after he spent more than 2 years in prison and managed to come up with $100,000 in bail to get out. The charge was also dropped because the basis of his defense, which was his claim of sovereignty due to him being the President of a foreign country. would have been very difficult to gain a conviction.

While "the South" as a collective group technically might not have committed treason by seceding, anyone who swore off their allegiance to the U.S. and instead swore their allegiance to the Confederacy certainly did. And I would submit anyone who took up arms against the U.S. falls into that category.

But make no mistake, JD was a racist through and through. Want proof? Try this:

[Davis considered "Yankee and Negroe" rule in the south oppressive. Davis held contemporary beliefs that African Americans were inferior to the white race. Historian William J. Cooper stated that Davis believed in southern social order that included "a democratic white polity based firmly on dominance of a controlled and excluded black caste.]

Look, you want to be able to fly your little battle flag on private property? Go for it. In fact, why not rally all your like minded sympathizers and secede from the U.S. again. Y'all can move to the top of Lookout Mountain and function there as an independent, sovereign nation just like your hero Jefferson Davis did. No taxes, no minorities, no worries, right? Y'all can stay on the mountian top and sit around your campfire flying the Stars and Bars and honoring all your ancestors to your hearts content.

September 2, 2011 at 2:49 p.m.
mzungu said...

Well, L4F, the U.S. Border Patrol could build a giant wall or fence at the base of the mountian and set up a checkpointn to keep all you Connfederates from trying to sneak back into the U.S. And in what would really be poetic justice, all the agents would be black, latino, or Asian; all would be armed and ready, willing, and able to deport you illegal aliens back to your home country. And there would be no green cards available, either. Or in your case, blue and grey cards.

You would be responsible for your own roads, your own medical services, your own school system, your own police and fire protection, your own media, etc. And that means no more UT football games. Lookout Mountain would become the new, defacto Rocky Top.

September 2, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
twharr said...

I would like to see a rally of all white southerners that are non-racist, to stand up against the KKK, Skin Heads and other white racist factions, who’ve high-jacked your sacred flag, to denounce them adopting the flag as their symbol. Until then the flag is racist in my book. Also, when you see bumper stickers with the rebel flag and a quote saying "The South was right" you can't help, but know it's racially motivated. What exactly was the south right about? Slavery and inequality?? Lynching and rape??

September 2, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.
D1Woody said...

Libertarians4Freedom,

I wasn't saying that I believe the Mexican flag should fly over gov't building, I don't. Only the US and state flags. BTW, great comment on Lee's allegiance to his home state.

mzungu, As far as flying my little flag, I don't own one but I respect the right of those that do. That's all I'm saying. I never said anything about Jeff Davis being my hero either. It sounds like you would like to make me out to be a sheet wearing, cross burning biggot but I'm not. I made a speech in college over the flag issue and I didn't do it in front of an all white class. It was not be offensive to anyone just stating my opinion on the issue. There was a protest at that time over whether or not South Carolina should remove the battle flag, not from the state house, but from a Confederate cemetery. That is absolutely ridiculous. If it offends you that bad then why can't you just keep your mouth shut and your ass off the property? I'm not religious. At all. But if I'm around family or complete strangers who want to say the blessing before they eat, I dont bitch or complain about it. I let them do their thing and be respectful of it. I see the bigger problem is that a lot of people in this country are hypersensitive "P.C." complainers who gets butthurt over nothing. You don't understand why anyone would want to fly the flag so you feel the need to intrude on their beliefs.

September 2, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
Someoneelse said...

Where do people get the idea that the US is a "Permanent" Union, because it just isn't so. Nowhere in the US Constitution does it state or even imply this. Notwithstanding the 1869 ruling in Texas Vs. White, which the Supreme Court ruled that states could not unilaterally secede from the United States, the Constitution DOES NOT EXPRESSLY FORBID SECESSION. And it never has.

I'm sure it would offend many a black individuals and many whites too, to learn that slavery was an institution that until the 13 Amendment, was permitted and protected by the FEDERAL Government.

I am also certain it would shock untold millions that the "Great Emancipator" had this to say about the Corwin Amendment (if you don't know what that is, look it up), to which he replied: "I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution . . . has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable." And I believe it would shock them even further to learn that also Lincoln espoused freedom for slaves and hatred of the institution of slavery, he had this to say in 1858: "I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

We as 21st century people cannot and will never understand what was in the 19th century minds of our fore-fathers. What we see as base, horrible, and completely immoral today was commonplace then.

September 4, 2011 at 11:49 p.m.
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