The Virginia Flaggers are pleased to announce that the US 29 Bypass Gen William Lewis Cabell Memorial Battle Flag was dedicated and raised in a ceremony on leased property adjacent to the Rt. 29 bypass in Danville, VA on Saturday, July 23rd. The 30' x 50' Army of Tennessee Battle Flag was raised on a 119' pole, just north of Danville.
We started the day with an early morning trial run at the flag site to set the rope up for the ceremony and test the flag and rope ahead of the ceremony.
Afterwards, we joined the Heritage Preservation Association, who had over 60 Flaggers join them at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, protesting the removal of the Third National from the Confederate Monument on the grounds of the Last Capital of the Confederacy.
When the gates opened at the flag site, temperatures were hovering just under 100 degrees. The area set aside for parking filled up quickly, and cars lined the entire 1 mile route out to the paved road and folks were still waiting to get in as late as 4:30. By the time the ceremony ended the headcount was over 700!
The ceremony began with the presentation of colors by the Stafford Light Artillery Camp #2247 Color Guard, Stafford, VA. After an invocation and salutes to the Virginia and Confederate Flags, Les Updike led the crowd in a stirring rendition of our State Song, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny".
Those bringing greetings to the crowd included:
James Bessinger, Chairman, The SC Secessionist Party
Gary Williamson, Founder, ActBac, NC
Teresa Wells, President, Va Society, OCR
Wayne Bird, President, Heritage Preservation Association
Robert McDaniel, 2st Lt., 2nd Bat Co. A, SCV Mechanized Cavalry
Sharon Jennings, President, Anne Eliza Johns Chapter 164, UDC
Willie Wells, Major, Army of Northern Va Mechanized Cavalry
Ronnie Roach, Commander, Army of Northern Va, SCV
Kevin Stone, Commander, NC Division, SCV; General, Mechanized Cavalry, SCV; Deputy Chief of Heritage Operations, SCV National
Commander Roach also brought greetings from the North Carolina M.O.S.& B. and the crowd cheered with news that newly elected SCV Commander-In-Chief Tom Strain had called him and asked him to bring greetings and congratulations on his behalf.
The fourteen flags that have been raised in Danville over the past year, and the representation of nearly EVERY heritage organization at the event on Saturday are proof of what can be accomplished when we come together and work as ONE SWORD to defend our heritage and advance the flags of Dixie!
After a moving rendition of Amazing Grace on the bagpipes by Luke McDonald, and a biographical sketch of General William Lewis Cabell by Danville native Dianne McMahon, NC Division Chaplain Rev. Dr. Herman White delivered a stirring keynote address, challenging all those present to raise our banners high and to never back down, using Isaiah 59:19 as our battle cry...
"So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."
"The Bonnie Blue Flag" was played on the pipes as the flag was raised, and a gentle breeze appeared and lifter her high for all to see. A musket salute by the honor guard led by the Campbell Guard Camp #2117 , and a magnificent artillery salute by the Orange Light Artillery 40th NC Troops, CSA Patterson's Battery echoed across the site to mark the occasion
A benediction and a chorus of Dixie brought the ceremony to an end.
From the heritage organization leaders who came to bring greetings, to the thoughtful local residents who brought gallons of water and lemonade to share, to the men who stood in wool uniforms to serve in the color guard, honor guard, or artillery units, to the folks who jumped in to help with parking, etc when the expected 200-300 turned into 700+, the devotion and dedication of Southerners never ceases to amaze me.
A message sent Sunday morning by a Danville resident spoke volumes...
"Hats off to all of you and each and every attendee. 2 prior commitments kept me away, but I had family in attendance. One of the best results was that unlike other groups that come together to protest, you folks didn't block roads, and didn't participate in hateful chants. You had a huge turnout, made your point, left the place better than you found it and moved on to the next. I was totally comfortable with my children being there, not something I can say about the other protests I've witnessed on TV lately."
Media coverage was plentiful and although not always accurate, VERY positive in its coverage, like this piece, which was on the front page of Sunday's morning edition:
We will have more video and coverage to share later in the week.
The Virginia Flaggers wish to express our sincere gratitude to Tommy Goddard of Sky High Poles and his crew for their dedication and hard work...to the citizens of Danville for their generous support which makes these projects possible...and to the City Council of Danville Virginia, whose discriminatory flag ban spurred so many to rise up and work together for our Cause, and was the catalyst that led to the erection of 14 beautiful Confederate Battle Flags across Danville.