Hundreds of people recently gathered near Interstate 95 to celebrate the raising of a 15-by-15-foot Confederate flag, which was carried by Southern troops who fought for slavery in the Civil War.
The flag was raised by a group called the "Virginia Flaggers" near Richmond, Va.
More than 200 people, some holding Confederate flags themselves, gathered for the flag-raising ceremony on Saturday (video below).
“The reason why we’re here is to honor the soldier. We don’t see it as a slavery issue,” James Thompson, who ancestors fought for the South, told the Associated Press.
“Their flag is out of context. It’s a symbol of divisiveness and for many it’s hateful,” said Brian Cannon, a Richmond attorney, who helped organize a social media protest against the flag.
The Confederate flag was raised on private land near the I-95 highway where it can be viewed by tens of thousands of people daily.
“As sons and daughters of the South, we have inherited a birthright. Ours is a proud heritage. We are descendants of Confederates, we are friends of Confederates... The flag that is being raised today will be a living, breathing memorial to our Confederate dead,” said
Susan Hathaway, a member of the Virginia flaggers.
Civil War re-enactor Thomas Morris, who called the Civil War “the war of Northern aggression,” was shocked that people were offended by the Confederate flag, which was proudly waved by pro-slavery soldiers.
“We wouldn’t make comments like that if they were trying to memorialize their heritage,” said Morris.
Source: Associated Press