Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rockbridge County Wants Confederate Flag Memorial on Private Property Removed

Actions by county officials spur additional flag sites and rally supporters of Confederate history and heritage. 

We have received several inquiries regarding the reports out of Rockbridge County of alleged code violations regarding the 60 West Lexington Roadside Memorial Battle Flag that was raised on Lee-Jackson Day, Saturday, January 14th.

Apparently, someone notified the county on Wednesday afternoon, January 11th, that a Confederate flag was scheduled to be raised on Lee-Jackson Day weekend. By Thursday morning, a letter had been drafted by the Rockbridge County Office of Community Development, warning of several alleged violations and threatening fines and other action if the pole was installed. Three different VDOT crews came out Thursday and verified that two of the alleged violations were false, and the Director of Community Development, came out to the flag site and made it clear to the shop owner that he did not approve of the fact that he was raising a Confederate Flag. By the end of the day, and after reviewing the information given, we concluded that county officials were simply trying to intimidate us and prevent the pole from being installed. It was installed late Thursday, January 13th, according to the same state and local building codes followed at the two previous installations in Rockbridge County.

The 20’ x 30’ Confederate Battle Flag was raised in a ceremony the morning of Lee-Jackson Day. Hundreds showed up in the cold rain to see her dedicated to the Glory of God, and in memory and honor of Generals Lee & Jackson, and all of our Confederate heroes. On Tuesday, January 17th, The Va Flaggers, the landowner, and the shop owner, all received notices from the Office of Community Development with (new) alleged code and/or zoning violations. Our attorney is reviewing the letter and state and local codes, and at this time we do not believe we are in violation. We have scheduled a meeting with county officials next week to further discuss the matter.

After that meeting, and upon further review, we will decide whether to file an appeal and/or work with the county to bring the site into compliance IF any of the alleged violations are determined to be legitimate. In the meantime, the publicity brought by this remarkably swift and forceful action by Rockbridge County has stirred up many county residents who don’t like the appearance that the county is coming down hard on one of their citizens for flying a Confederate flag on private property. Since the news broke, we have received offers from no less than 4 landowners for additional flags sites in Lexington, and expect more to follow. We are confident that this matter will be resolved within the 45 days allotted, and that the 90’ pole (or perhaps one even higher) WILL be flying a Confederate Flag on 60 West for years to come.

Photo Courtesy Tredegar Droneworks

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Robert E. Lee Monument Will Stay in Charlottesville - City Council Votes to Leave it In Place

The motion failed on a 2-2 vote, at their regularly scheduled session last night, with Bellamy and Szakos voting to move the monument, Galvin and Mayor Signer voting to keep it in place, and Fenwick abstaining.  Later, Bellamy and Szakos put forth multiple motions with different wording but with the same call to remove the monument, all of which resulted in the same 2-2 vote, ending in defeat each time.
This decision will save the citizens of Charlottesville millions in wasted legal fees. Lawyers were standing by with injunctions and law suits ready to file had Bellamy's motion passed. City Councillors knew this and opinions from their own City Attorney and the Commonwealth's Attorney General confirmed that moving the monuments would have violated state law.
Disgraced Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy had called for his supporters to show up in force and apparently they did.  
After the initial vote, chaos erupted in council chambers and police and council members had to step in to intervene.  With the official closing of the Blue Ribbon Commission, the Va Flaggers call for the immediate resignation of Wes Bellamy and an end to the whole fiasco. It is obvious that he does not have the support of his peers or his constituents. He is clearly out of touch with the citizens of Charlottesville, unfit for office, and if allowed to remain on City Council, will continue to be a distraction and impediment to the success of the city.  
The victory in Charlottesville follows on the heels of a similar decision in Alexandria, where state representatives refused City Council's request to seek permission from the State legislature to remove the Confederate monument there, and the defeat of Mayoral candidates in Portsmouth and Richmond who had called for the removal of Confederate Monument.
It is fitting that just a few days after the Lee-Jackson Day holiday in Virginia, and on the eve of the celebration of his birth, we learn that the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville will remain and those who wanted to tear it down have been denied.
God bless the eternal memory of Robert E Lee...and God Save the South!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lee Jackson Day 2017 - Confederates Push Back In Lexington, Va

The morning of Saturday, January 14th , 2017, Lee-Jackson Day in Lexington, Virginia, dawned cold and drizzly.  As we made our way out to a parcel of land just West of Lexington on Rt. 60, at the edge of Washington & Lee University, we wondered if the inclement weather would affect the turnout for the dedication of the 4th Roadside Memorial Confederate Battle Flag in Lexington.  Although there had only been a few days’ notice given, word of efforts by the Rockbridge County Director of Community Development to stop the installation of the flag pole in the days leading up to the service had caused an uproar in the community and when we arrived an hour and a half early, people were already there.  By the time the service started, the rain had let up and an estimated 250 people had gathered.
While the CARE parade was taking place a few miles away, we raised and dedicated a 20’ x 30’ Confederate Battle Flag on a 90’ pole.
We were pleased to have Sons of Confederate Veterans National Executive Director Michael Landree to bring the dedication remarks, and the crowd thrilled as the flag was hoisted high to the sound of the “Bonnie Blue Flag” on bagpipes. A musket salute followed the flag raising, where the flag was dedicated “To the Glory of God and in honor and memory of Generals Lee & Jackson, and all of our Confederate heroes.” Special thanks to the Edmund Ruffin Fire-Eaters, Camp #3000, SCV from Mechanicsville for supplying the Color Guard.
The Lexington 60 West Memorial Confederate Battle Flag is the 25th flag raised in the Commonwealth since the fall of 2013. We would like to extend special thanks to Rhett Ingram of Dixiana Steel Company in Columbia, SC for supplying the pole, and to Bryan and Jodi Rowsey of 60 West Gun Shop for their support. The Rockbridge County Director of Community Development has threatened swift action to try and have the flag pole removed. We will be ready to defend her. Stay tuned for updates.

A reporter asked if the scheduling of this flag raising was deliberate in order to avoid confrontation with the CARE protesters.  The answer is YES.  When it looked like they were going to go ahead with their march on Lee-Jackson Day, we decided that we did not want to be anywhere near Main Street while they were holding their event.  Contrary to what the press and the CARE representatives claimed, we never had any intention of having any kind of confrontation with them.  We knew there would be women and children among our participants, and had no desire to expose to them to what we have seen and heard at these kinds of protests.  We would, however, like to thank for this latest flag site.  We were contacted by a Lexington resident shortly after it was announced that the CARE group would hold a MLK march on Lee-Jackson Day, offering their land for the new site....and before we left the flag raising Saturday morning, we had contact information for several more possible sites.  One of these days, people are going to realize that all we ask is to be left alone!

By the time we raised the flag and packed up, the CARE group had finished and was leaving downtown Lexington
We held a memorial service at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery at 11:00 a.m., where approximately 300 folks gathered to honor Lee & Jackson and remember their duty and sacrifice to God, Commonwealth and Country. Representatives from 7 different Confederate heritage groups brought greetings, and Sons of Confederate Veterans Army of Northern Virginia Commander Ronnie Roach introduced our guest speaker, SCV Army of Northern Virginia Chaplain Rev. Dr. Herman White. Dr. White gave an inspirational and motivational speech, encouraging all those to follow the example of Lee and Jackson...”Love your neighbor...but stand your ground!”.
Following a rifle salute from an honor guard organized by Va Division SCV 3rd Brigade Commander Reggie Bennett, General Jackson led the Color Guard in retiring the colors, and those who were able, fell in behind them to head out on a march through town.
In an attempt to disrupt the annual Lee-Jackson Day memorial services in Lexington, Virginia, a local anti-Confederate group applied for and received a permit to hold a protest march on the date and time historically set aside for the Lee-Jackson Day parade which typically followed a memorial service at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.

The Virginia Flaggers immediately filed a request for a parade on Monday, which is the actual MLK holiday, and then offered to switch days with the anti-Confederate protesters since they claimed the purpose of their march was to honor Martin Luther King. They refused the offer, proving their true intention was to disrupt our memorial services and force those who wished to honor Lee and Jackson out of Lexington on that day. The City of Lexington refused to issue a parade permit to the Va Flaggers for later in the day on Saturday, January 14th, but we refused to be pushed out. We scheduled a memorial service for 11:00 a.m. and planned a processional immediately following. There was much speculation about what we were planning, and several groups vowed to "SHUT IT DOWN".

Little did they know that their attempts to minimize the Lee/Jackson holiday would have the opposite effect. After a memorial service attended by nearly 300 citizens, 200 Confederates stepped out of the cemetery and began a pre-planned march through Lexington, with Stonewall Jackson leading a Confederate Color Guard. Lexington police stopped traffic at every intersection as the line stretched several city blocks.
The result was a solemn march which brought salutes and shouts of thanks. The bagpipes played hauntingly as General Jackson led the procession. When we turned the corner at VMI, a bystander captured this video, and allowed us to share it with you.

  Watch Video Here
By the time we reached Hopkins Green and started filing in, the realization of what had just occurred sank in and many were moved to tears. As we watched the circle fill once, then twice, and still the procession continued, we were overcome with emotion.
Yes, we had carefully planned and considered our options. Yes, we went over the route in detail and tried to cover every what-if. What we didn’t expect, although we should know better, is how God would ultimately, once again, take that which was designed for our detriment, and turn it into something spectacular.

At the completion of the march, an impromptu rally continued for a few moments, after which participants disbursed to visit Lee Chapel, the VMI Museum and other Confederate attractions in town.

After lunch, several dozen of us returned to the streets of Lexington to flag until dusk, once again receiving mostly affirmative responses from local citizens. As we closed out the day at General Jackson’s church, which has become our custom, we thanked God for His blessing on what had turned out to be a better day than we had dared to hope for...and left with the satisfaction that Lee-Jackson Day in Lexington had been decidedly Confederate, despite attempts by others to dishonor them.
Local news coverage:

Competing Parades March in Lexington

Marchers In Lexington Hold AntiRacism Parade Displacing Confederate Event

There seems to be a bit of confusion, brought on by gross misrepresentation of the Lee-Jackson Day events by some in the media. Here are the facts:

*The Va Flaggers DID NOT march through Lexington with Confederate flags on Martin Luther King Day.

*The C.A.R.E. group DID hold a MLK march through Lexington on Lee-Jackson Day.

We DID refuse to let them push us out. We DID hold ceremonies while they were marching and march through town shortly after their event was concluded. We honored Lee & Jackson on Lee-Jackson Day. THEY attempted to disrupt our commemorations. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of hundreds of Confederates...they did NOT succeed.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Va Flaggers Receive Warm Welcome in Lexington for Lee-JacksonDay 2017

We kicked off the Lee-Jackson Day Weekend in Lexington on Friday with a 10:00 a.m. meeting at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.  After receiving instructions, schedules, and fliers to distribute, about 50 Flaggers, many joining us for the first time,  hit the streets of Lexington!  There were folks from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri, and Montana, among others...
Those who stood vigil on Main Street and at Washington & Lee University reported overwhelmingly positive responses.  Citizens and university students often stopped to shake our hands and thank us for being out there.  We did not see ONE anti-Confederate protester all day on Friday.  One woman stopped at our corner and rolled down her window and told us that she had just left her office on Main Street for lunch, but that she had left her door unlocked in case any of our folks needed to get some water or use the bathroom.

Many shop owners waved, saluted, or gave thumbs ups from their stores or offices, and several came out to speak with us.  
After lunch, we met at the Jackson Farm flag site to change out the flag there, giving everyone a chance to see the flag sites and see the flags raised, while we could inspect the sites and replace the flags.  
From there, we headed out to the I-81 site and replaced the 20' x 30' flag there...
...and finished up by putting up a new 8'x8' ANV Battle Flag at the Visitor's Center site downtown!
From the Visitor's Center, we grabbed our flags and headed a few blocks over to pay our respects to General Jackson on the parade grounds at VMI.  By this time, more people had arrived, and we made something of a procession heading across town.  What happened over the next hour or so turned out to be the highlight of the day for most of us...
As we approached Letcher Avenue and started up the sidewalk, we noticed a Washington & Lee Security vehicle parked half way up the walk. Apprehensive, we decided to go ahead and continue our trek. As we neared, the officer approached, and as we walked by, he simply greeted us and wished us well. 
We were able to walk freely up to the parade grounds at VMI to pay our respects. We paused for a photo and sang Dixie. This video does not do it justice, but gives you an idea of the spirit of the moment:

This in itself was enough to thrill most of us, especially after what we dealt with last year.
But then...a gentleman came out to lower the U.S. and state flags as dusk was approaching, and when several of our folks stopped to chat with him, he introduced himself as a VMI official and INVITED US INSIDE FOR A TOUR. We stepped in and he spoke for a bit about Jackson, showed us where his office was, told us a little of the Confederate history and the history of VMI, and went on to say that he very much appreciated us coming by and that we were welcome any time. He wanted to be sure we knew that VMI was proud of its heritage...which he said was the heritage of America AND of the South. One glance around the group that had gathered and I could see that I was not the only one standing inside that archway with goose bumps and watery eyes. 
It was an absolutely phenomenal end to the first day in Lexington, and we thanked him repeatedly for his hospitality. Most of us walked away in awe and wonder in what appears to be a complete shift in policy from BOTH universities. Washington & Lee who tried to prevent us from even having access to Letcher Avenue last year, yet smiled and waved as we walked by this year....and VMI who quietly tolerated us in the past, and went out of their way to welcome us on Friday.

Supper Friday night was a great time of fun, fellowship, and last minute instructions for the planned events on Saturday.  We had asked the restaurant to reserve seating for about 50, and ended up with closer to 100 in attendance.  

News Reports from Friday:

Lexington To Hold First MLK Parade Despite Controversy

Controversy Over Lee-Jackson-MLK Celebrations Continue in Lexington This Weekend

Up next:  Reports and photos from Saturday's mega flag raising, memorial service, and march through town!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Elderly Montana Man Among Those Planning to Travel to Lexington to Honor Lee & Jackson

We have heard from many folks who are planning to travel to Lexington for Lee-Jackson day this year, many for the first time.  This letter received from a supporter was particularly poignant: 

"Dear Friends,
Due to your emails about the malcontents who are not pleased with the annual Lee-Jackson Day observances in Lexington, I have determined to do a 4,000 mile round trip from Bozeman, Montana in mid-winter, alone. 

I will bring with me a new 3x5 Third National flag, pole with spear and shoulder straps with which to carry and strut my seventy-seven year old bones down Main Street or any other street for that matter.

I reserved a four night stay at the ***** hotel and from there will proceed under the direction of the Virginia Flaggers...

...Being that I am perched so far from the action, I have not once been able to be present when the Virginia Flaggers strike, but this Lexington matter was too much to keep me frozen still."

As ever,
Robert B
Bozeman, MT

We are touched by his devotion, inspired by his determination, and look forward to standing with him in Lexington.  

Jackson Monument Guards ~ Lexington, VA

Rally behind the Virginians!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Virginia Flaggers 2016 Confederate Year In Review

The Virginia Flaggers finished our final week of 2016 with a strong showing on the Boulevard in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  At the close of the year, we marked 72 consecutive months of weekly protests against the forced removal of Confederate flags form the portico of the Confederate Memorial Chapel by VMFA officials.

Thursday, December 29, we had a half dozen flaggers on duty, including a special guest Flagger all the way from GEORGIA. He filed this report:

At least one great conversation was held with 3 young girls and a gentleman. Education is our goal.
Weather was bad in the morning, stopped for a few hours, started back raining early in the afternoon. But God smiled on us and the clouds broke and it was a great day afterwards.
Temps dropped quick with the setting sun. But pride in our Confederate Ancestors kept our hearts and spirits warm.  Proud to be amongst my Virginia Flaggers family!

Saturday, January 31st
 was a brisk, windy day, beautiful, but chilly when over a dozen flaggers gathered on the Boulevard to ring in the new year, Flagger style!.  Flaggers reported mostly positive conversations, with one flagger sharing this report of one of their encounters:

"Two of us were standing at one end of the sidewalk, and a man approached us from across the lawn.  Honestly, we were a bit apprehensive at first, as he walked directly up to us and asked "what are you people doing out here?"  When we explained about the flags being removed from the Confederate Chapel, and our efforts to have them returned, he told us that he thought what we were doing was fantastic and said he wanted to make a contribution to our Cause.  We handed him one of our flyers and showed him the contact information on the back and he thanked us and said that he wanted to give us something right away and handed us $11.  He thanked us repeatedly for what we were doing to stand up for the Confederate Veterans and we chatted for some time.  It was the highlight of our day! "

2016 was a challenging, but PHENOMENAL year for the Va Flaggers and we can’t thank all of you enough for your continued encouragement, prayers and support.

A few highlights:

We added 6  new battle flags to the landscape in Virginia, including our largest ever in Danville, Virginia. Working together with numerous heritage organizations and individuals, we held off monument removal, street and school name change efforts in several municipalities in the Commonwealth, and thanks to the efforts of the Campbell Guard SCV Camp, actually ended the year PLUS ONE on the Confederate monument count in Virginia!  Our Flaggers logged thousands of hours flagging the VMFA, and traveled across Virginia to fight battles where needed.  Susan was in high demand as a speaker and her schedule kept her on the road much of the year, as she shared her vision and motivational presentation with folks across the country.  We launched the Mobile Flagger Response Unit, tended graves and sponsored new headstones for Confederate Veterans, continued our RVA Monument Guard patrols, and attended numerous memorial services and events.

We are proud to  have worked side  by side with many heritage groups, including the SCV, UDC, SCV/MC, ANV/MC, OCR, and  dozens of others in joint efforts in heritage preservation in Richmond, the Commonwealth and across the Confederation. We were thrilled to assist others with memorial battle flag projects in several states, including one raised by the Lane-Armistead SCV Camp near Saluda, Va. (raising the number of flags raised in Virginia in 2016 to 7)  :)

Instead of writing a lengthy and detailed report this year, we decided to share this video that a friend of ours put together.

View Video Here

It's a YEAR IN REVIEW in photos, and we hope you enjoy it is as much as we did.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Disgraced Charlottesville Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy Resigns From Albermarle High School Teaching Position

We learned early this evening that the City Councilman behind the effort to remove the Robert E. Lee memorial in Charlottesville has resigned from his position as a teacher at Albermarle High School!!

This follows community outrage after a Charlottesville author exposed numerous vulgar tweets on Bellamy's "Vice-Mayor" twitter account containing sexist, racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments, and  comes just weeks after Virginia Governor McAuliffe forced Bellamy to resign from the State Board of Education last month after commenting that he was "horrified by the content" of the tweets.

Bellamy was placed on administrative leave by the Albermarle County School Board shortly after the vile tweets surfaced, and his resignation comes after outrage from parents and the community, and in spite of efforts by the Albermarle-Charlottesville NAACP to influence the school board's decision.  In a letter sent to the Albermarle  County School Board earlier this month,  NAACP President Rick Turner urged Bellamy be taken off administrative leave and returned to the classroom.

In contrast to swift action by the Governor and the Albermarle School Board, Charlottesville City Council members have refused to ask for his resignation from City Council, expressed their devotion to Bellamy, and vowed to stand behind him.  At a City Council meeting earlier this month, Charlottesville councilmen, instead of condemning Bellamy and calling out his openly racist, homophobic and sexist comments and behavior, chose to instead launch vicious personal attacks against the man who exposed the tweets, as well as anyone who dared to speak out and call for his resignation.

As we reported last week, City Councilmen will meet in January to discuss the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Memorials and Race, a commission that was formed solely based on the prejudicial demands of Wes Bellamy and Kristen Szakos to tear down the Robert E Lee monument and rename LEE Park.  Based on the revelation of the true character of Mr. Bellamy, and the obvious racist intentions behind the entire stunt, the logical next step would be to abandon any and all discussion of monument removal or alteration. Since City Council has made it clear that they intend to move forward instead of stepping back and have no intentions of pressuring him to resign, removing Bellamy from office by recall would serve as a strong statement to City Council, and a warning to others who may be tempted to make similar attempts to destroy our history and heritage, across the Commonwealth and beyond.

An official petition to recall Bellamy has been drafted and signatures are being gathered from Charlottesville voters.  For more info about how you can sign the petition or help with this effort, contact: Jason Kessler