Group plans to fly Confederate flag over I-95

Posted at 4:00 PM, Aug 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-08 05:02:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A group known as the Virginia Flaggers announced plans to fly the Confederate Battle Flag over Interstate 95.

“We have finalized a lease to acquire property adjacent to Interstate 95, just South of Richmond, and will be erecting a 50’ pole, on which a 10 x15 Confederate Battle Flag will fly 24/7, 365 days of the year,” Virginia Flagger Susan Hathaway wrote in a post on the Flaggers’ website. “Site work will begin next week, with a September 28th Flag Raising/Dedication slated.”

Group members said they are dedicated to honoring their Confederate ancestors.

“The flag will serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage,” Hathaway wrote. “The location is also historically significant, as Confederate troops are believed to have camped in and around the area during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.”

Flagger Grayson Jennings said the flag will be located in Chesterfield County on someone’s personal property that the group has leased.

When asked about the group’s plans, the head of the state NAACP called it an embarrassment. Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani told the Richmond Times Dispatch the flag will bring the wrong kind of attention to Richmond and hurt tourism.

Hathaway disagreed.

“Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Support is pouring in from the Commonwealth and across the U.S.,” she wrote in an email.

Jennings said he was not sure why this was making national headlines.

“The buzz will go away,” he said. “We will put the flag up and two days later no one will care about it.”

He said the group did not intend for the flag to be a political statement, he called it a way to honor his heritage.

Jennings said his family was in Virginia in the 1600s and his great-great grandparents were Confederates.

“Virginia sent these people into war, to defend their home,” he said. “You wouldn’t want people talking bad about your grandparents.”