Sunday, July 27, 2014

Marker Dedication Service for Samuel Dawson Bell

The Virginia Flaggers were thrilled to receive an invitation to attend the marker dedication service for Samuel Hawkins Bell, Hankins Co., Virginia Light Artillery, CSA, held yesterday, July 26th.  We headed out to Elwood Cemetery in Norfolk Saturday morning, on a very warm July day.

As far as the family knows, Bell's grave has been unmarked since his death.  Through the efforts of his family, and with the assistance of Kenny Harris and the Princess Anne Camp #484, SCV,  a Confederate marker was obtained and installed.

The ceremony was planned and carried out by the family and was a very moving and fitting tribute.

The Princess Anne Camp provided an honor guard and family members traveled from as far away as Arkansas to pay tribute to their ancestor.

I was honored to be asked to share a poem, and we all appreciated the opportunity to be present at such a wonderful ceremony.

Afterwards, we talked with family members and attendees.  At one point, we walked over to the new headstone to get a closer look and take a photo.  As we were standing there, talking about the ceremony and learning more about the family, a man who was walking down the public sidewalk, which was only a few feet away, left the sidewalk and started walking toward us and the marker, at a brisk pace and with a very serious expression.  When he reached us, I greeted him and he immediately inquired "What soldier are we honoring today?"  Admittedly a bit surprised, I pointed to the marker and explained that Samuel Dawson Bell was a Confederate soldier and that his family had gathered here to honor him.

He immediately turned toward the marker and proceeded to salute and stand at attention, for what seemed like at least 60 seconds.  We all stood quietly, in awe and appreciation of this remarkable expression of respect and honor, one soldier to another.  It turns out the gentleman was a U.S. Marine Corp Veteran.

When he broke from attention, he reached out and shook hands with each of us and we thanked him for stopping to pay respects.  He seemed a bit agitated and we understood why when he pointed to a battle flag that was leaning against a vehicle, in preparation for packing it up to leave, which had slipped from its position, unnoticed, allowing the tip of the flag to touch the ground.  "Please have someone get that flag off of the ground, ma'am.  A soldier's flag must NEVER touch the ground."

As he walked away, we thanked him again, and were left standing there in amazement and in awe of what we had just witnessed.  All present were deeply touched by the scene that had unfolded, and it was the perfect ending to an absolutely wonderful event.

We would like to thank the Bell family, especially Anna Bell and Chris Xantos for the kind invitation and warm welcome, and the men of the Princes Anne Camp who helped make the marker and ceremony possible.

God bless the memory of Samuel Dawson Bell...and God save the South!

Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers

P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150

Washington & Lee/Lee Chapel Flags Rally Report

The Va Flaggers were honored to forward the colors in three different parts of the Commonwealth yesterday, with representatives in Norfolk, Richmond, and Lexington.  After sharing a few pics and brief mentions, we are going to let one of the 15 year old attendees share his reflections of the day in Lexington, through his young eyes, and from a report he submitted yesterday evening.

The Virginia Flaggers arrived at the LEE Chapel entrance to Washington & Lee University at 10:00 a.m., to find that our Tar Heel brothers had been first to have boots on the ground.  The men of the Old North State had a GREAT representation on the front lines, and joined us for most of the day...

We also arrived to find that W&L Security had barricaded off the entrance to the Chapel parking lot.  It was not long, however, before the Flaggers realized that traffic cones make GREAT flag stands!

Foot and auto traffic was heavy around the Chapel all day, and feedback was almost 100% positive and in support of our efforts to return the Confederate Battle Flags to the RE LEE Chapel.

There were many great conversations, and opportunities to educate the public.   As promised, here is one young man's Story...

"We started off the day flagging in front of Washington and Lee. We flagged for 20 minutes or so until a friend and I decided to go see VMI.

On the way to VMI , we got many honks, waves, and signs of support for the Battle Flags we were carrying. We got to VMI and walked all around the campus until we found the statue of "Stonewall" Jackson. We took a picture of me in front of Jackson with my Battle Flag.

We left VMI and went to the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. There I got to visit the General and talk to a nice family from Pennsylvania. I told them about the history of the Battle Flag and Washington and Lee's decision to remove the flags from the Lee Chapel. They were very understanding and nice.

After I visited Stonewall we went to the SCV rally in Hopkins Green Park. There I had conversations with Wayne Jones and Rev Herman White.

We left the rally early to go back to flagging in front of Washington and Lee. Since it was my first time in Lexington I wanted to see the Lee Chapel and the grave of Lee's horse Traveller. As I began to head for the Lee Chapel, a Police Officer stopped me and said that I could not enter the campus property with my Battle Flag or any images of Confederate Flags on any of my possessions including my clothing. I really wanted to pay my respects to General Lee and Traveller so I had to turn my shirt inside-out, take off my hat, and take off my badge.

When I finally arrived to the Chapel there was a sign on the front door saying that the Lee Chapel was closed for the weekend. I took a picture of the Lee Chapel and then went to see Traveller. I was glad to see that I had access to the grave of Traveller.

I talked to 3 different couples while I was on the campus and they were all very supportive. I told each couple why I was there and why my shirt was inside-out.

When I got off of the campus and back on to the sidewalk I flagged for the rest of the day. At least 2 out of every 3 cars would wave, honk, or salute us. One man who was walking down the sidewalk gave me a "Confederate fist-bump" to show his support for the Flaggers.

We had two interesting conversations while we were on our way to the car. The first was with a family from the great state of Missouri. They were very supporting of our efforts and were against the removal of the flags that were in the Lee Chapel. The second was a man from the Richmond Times-Dispatch who asked why I was out there, my name, and if I was related to any Confederate soldiers. He took my picture with my Battle Flag and said that I should be in the paper tomorrow!

Fred talked to the owner of a local ice cream shop. At the end of there conversation the owner gave Fred free Ice Cream to show his support for our efforts.

Overall it was a VERY successful day for the Virginia Flaggers."

This young man, a 15 year old member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and proud descendant of several Confederate Ancestors, was told he could not enter the campus of Washington and LEE University without removing his "offensive" apparel, which consisted of:

- A Lee-Davis High School cap
- A Sons of Confederate Veterans Sesquicentennial Commemorative T-Shirt
- And a name badge on a lanyard which had Confederate Battle Flags printed on it

The implications of these restrictions are far reaching and mind-boggling.  Is the Confederate Battle Flag now prohibited in any form at the campus?  Are students prohibited from wearing a label pin, or t-shirt, or cap, if it has a Confederate Battle Flag on it?  Are students prohibited from possessing or displaying a Confederate flag?  Is a vehicle with a government issued SCV license plate prohibited access to the campus?

We find it the worst kind of intolerance and bigotry that the University administration has chosen to openly discriminate against those of Confederate Ancestry...on the campus of a school that owes its very existence to the Gen. Robert E Lee, and the Confederate Veterans who helped save the institution. 

The rally and gathering in Lexington this weekend was a good start, but it must be just that...a kick off for a campaign that may be long fought, and demand much of our time and resources.

Please take a moment to contact University officials AGAIN this week, and express your outrage at their decision to remove flags, CLOSE the RE LEE chapel for the weekend, and force visitors to remove any representations of their Confederate ancestry before stepping foot on University property.

Washington & Lee University Contact Information:

Mr. Kenneth Ruscio
Washington and Lee University
204 West Washington Street
Lexington,Virginia 24450
(540) 458-8700

Daniel Wubah
Washington and Lee University
Washington Hall 214
Lexington,Virginia 24450


Secretary of the University:
James D. Farrar, Jr.
Washington & Lee University
203 Washington Hall
Lexington,VA 24450

Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees:

Katherine Brinkley
Washington & Lee University
202 Washington Hall
Lexington,VA 24450

Thank you for your continued support.  Please look for more updates soon, with additional opportunities to join us in Lexington, and/or support our continuing efforts. 

Grayson Jennings

Virginia Flaggers
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Report From the Front Lines: Washington & Lee University SCV Rally and Symposium

Va Flaggers Report from the Front Lines: Lexington, VA 
July 26, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

“This unscheduled closing is based on concerns for the safety of the facility and its staff on the day that the Sons of Confederate Veterans have scheduled a rally in Lexington." - Washington & LEE University

Just thought we would share a photo of the sign on the door of the Lee Chapel...along with one of the "very scary" rally participants that Washington and Lee claimed were a threat to the "safety of the facility and its staff."

SERIOUSLY, Washington & Lee?

RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!

Va Flaggers

Friday, July 25, 2014

"Marse Robert is Asleep"

Many thanks to our good friend, Dan Boyette, of the Confederate States Armory Camp #2157, SCV for sharing this poignant post:

Marse Robert is Asleep

The thirtieth anniversary of Lee's surrender (April 9, 1865) finds the character of the vanquished General a model to which all may refer with approval.  "His modesty was his highest virtue,"said a learned critic.  Gen. Winfield Scott, commander of the United States armies, under whom Lee served in Mexico, said, "He was the best soldier I ever saw in the field."

When he surrendered the remnant of his army, which had been invincible so many years, Gen. Meade, in conversation with him, asked how many men he had at Petersburg, when his lines were broken, and Lee replied "Forty thousand." Meade said, "I am amazed, and could not believe it were it not you who said it." [Grant's strength was at least 110,000 men]

When terms of capitulation were agreed upon, and the officer who had gone to take an inventory of Lee's army, reported to Gen. Grant, stating that there were 8,000 men for duty, 120 cannon, etc., Grant refused to permit the firing of any salute of victory.  In every way he showed his appreciation of the heroism and long persistence of Gen. Lee.

In a tribute to his character, Rev. Dr. Henry M. Field, who was reared in the Berkshire Hills of New England, a born abolitionist, but who venerates the memory of his "Black Mammy" as do Southerners, visited Lexington, Va., and concludes a tribute as follows:

"As I took a last look at the recumbent statue, I observed that its base bore no epitaph; no words of praise were carved upon the stone. Only above it on the wall was the name "Robert Edward Lee," with the two dates, "Born January 19, 1807, Died October 12, 1870."

That is all, but it is enough, for any eulogy would but detract from the spell of that single name: "One of the few, the immortal names, That were not born to die."

("Marse Robert is Asleep," Confederate Veteran, April 1895, pg. 113)

Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers

P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150

Thursday, July 24, 2014

W&L Update - LEE Chapel Closed for SCV Rally/Symposium

This just in, from the Lee Chapel Face Book Page:
We regret to announce that Lee Chapel and Museum will be closed from Friday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m. through Sunday July 27.. This unscheduled closing is based on concerns for the safety of the facility and its staff on the day that the Sons of Confederate Veterans have scheduled a rally in Lexington. We must take this unfortunate precaution because of the inflammatory and threatening letters, emails and phone calls the University has received in response to the removal of reproduction battle flags from the statue chamber in Lee Chapel and the decision to bring authentic battle flags to the Lee Chapel Museum. We apologize for this inconvenience.

This announcement is an obvious attempt on the part of Washington & Lee University to incite unwarranted anger and misplaced fear towards the honorable members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  We call on the administration to do the honorable thing!  If there is a viable, traceable threat, then have the guilty arrested... and show their face and name on all media outlets.  Without proof, this announcement is nothing more than slander and innuendo designed to defame the excellent character of the men of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. 

Even the wording in the statement rings of their attempts to cover their actions.  We know for a fact that NO ONE is complaining that they are bringing "authentic battle flags to the Lee Chapel Museum". We applaud this effort.  The only complaint is that they are using THAT action as a smoke screen and excuse to remove the replica flags from the chamber, when in fact, the desecration was done solely to appease the demands of six students who threatened "civil obedience".

This statement proves that we are making progress.  The administration is feeling the heat and pressure of thousands of Southerners who have said "ENOUGH"... "NO MORE"...and W&L is striking back in anger, and with underhanded tactics.  Our efforts are working...and bringing unwanted attention to their despicable actions.  They have realized that we will not sit idly by while university officials dishonor General Robert E. Lee.  We have gathered in Lexington on a half dozen occasions since the Save Our Flags Rally of September, 2011, and NOT ONCE has there been ANY report of violence, attacks, or even inappropriate conduct. 

Now, more than ever, we need to stand strong in the face of this unwarranted attack.   PLEASE continue the letter writing, emailing and phone calls, and help us keep a constant presence at the University.   We look forward to having a good turnout this Saturday, and for as long as necessary...until the flags are returned!

REMINDER:  The Va Flaggers have called for and observed a TOTAL boycott of Lexington, Va,  following the September 1, 2011 flag ban ordinance by Lexington City Council that prevents the flags of Lee and Jackson from flying on City flag stands during the Lee-Jackson holiday.  PLEASE make arrangements so that NOT ONE DIME is spent within the city limits.  When you come, pack in food, or eat outside the city limits.  Stop by the Visitor's Center, sign the guest book, and tell them WHY you won't put any money into Lexington's coffers.  

We have also been asked about what flags we suggest to bring.  While any Confederate flag is suitable, we would suggest carrying Army of Northern Battle Flags, if possible, during the protests in Lexington, as the flags removed from the chamber at the LEE Chapel were ANV Battle Flags. 

Rally/symposium info:

See you in Lexington...RALLY BEHIND THE VIRGINIANS! 

Grayson Jennings
Va Flaggers

P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We have been very busy over the past few days, with the SCV National Reunion in Charleston, continuing efforts here in Richmond as regards the Confederate Memorial Chapel, and even though we have not posted an update recently, we have also been working steadily on the situation at Washington & Lee University.

Last week, we were onsite at Washington & Lee to scout for future flagging operations, and were able to spend a large part of the day at the school's entrance, flagging the administration,  and drawing much needed attention to the desecration of the Chapel.

Our Flaggers reported that response was OVERWHELMINGLY positive.  VERY FEW negative comments and LOTS of honks and support.

Students and residents stopped to show their support and offer words of encouragement...
We are in the process of defining the boundaries for future flagging activities, and developing guidelines for participants, and literature to distribute to students, faculty, residents, and tourists.  There is also a local resident who has been protesting, as well.  It is our hope that others will join soon him, and we will be able to coordinate weekly, even daily protests! 

Meanwhile, our sources inside the University tell us that the emails, phone calls, and mail received since our first call to action have overwhelmed the administration and staff.  A recent media report is very telling, and further proof that we are outperforming the opposition:

"The recent removal of the flags, as well as other parts of Washington and Lee President Ken Ruscio's July 8 message to the University Community, continues to resonate with alumni and the "concerned public", said Brian Eckert, Washington & LEE Director of Communications and Public Affairs.  "The reaction has been mixed and plentiful", he reported.  He said his office was still receiving calls, e-mails, and letters yesterday, Tuesday, a full two weeks after Ruscio's letter."

From the copies of letters, and reports received, we know that this is true.  The administration believes that if they just sit tight, this will all "blow over" and things will return to normal at the University.  We aim to make sure that does not happen until the flags are returned.  We will need your help!  PLEASE take this time this week to continue to contact the university, AGAIN! 

This week, we are asking you to email, call, or write a letter to the Site Director at the Chapel.  Please be polite, but be firm, and insist that the flags be returned to the Chapel chamber.

Contact information:

Ms. Lucy Wilkins
Lee Chapel & Museum
100 North Jefferson Street
Lexington, VA 24450

Phone:  (540) 458-8768

We have much more information to share, but wanted to get this brief update out right away.  Watch for more updates soon!  PLEASE continue to forward these emails to ANYONE who you feel might be interested in helping, especially anyone with connections to the University. 

We know that University officials did not expect the backlash that they have so far received. Ruscio and others continue to offer new talking points and cover stories for their actions, NONE of which changes the truth, which is that this action was nothing more than a complete and total capitulation to the demands of 6 students, seeking publicity and determined to dishonor General Lee and the men who served under him.  Their spin and attempts to explain away their actions have taken some interesting turns:   

"As a private university, we are not bound by the same legal and constitutional First Amendment constraints as public universities, Ruscio said.

Only those who are fearful of the expression of truth call the Bill of Rights "constraints", and view freedom as "binding".

"We have not yet begun to fight."  Our hope and fervent prayer is that you will take up the banner and join us.

Grayson Jennings
Va Flaggers

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Heritage Alert: Texas SCV Plate Poll

Please vote "Honorable", and share...

"In 2011, the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans applied for a specialty Confederate Flag theme license plate.  The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board rejected the application for the specialty license plate, and the applicants in turn filed a lawsuit.  It lawsuit was dismissed in 2013.  Here in 2014, a federal appeals court has revived the lawsuit.

"The group insists the design is to honor the memory of Confederate soldiers and is a representation of southern heritage.  However, the board concludes many residents will take offense to its design."

Pro News 7

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled Monday the Texas board violated the group's First Amendment rights by rejecting the license plate request.

The case was sent back to an Austin federal court.


Virginia Flaggers
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150