Friday, July 29, 2016
In The Wake of the Battle Flag - Answering the Critics in Danville
After Saturday's wildly successful flag raising ceremony in Danville, Va, where over 700 people gathered in the sweltering heat and red clay dust to dedicate and raise the largest battle flag ever flown in the Commonwealth, press reports quickly spread across the country. Over a half dozen news agencies came to record the event, most assuredly looking for any trace of the "hate" and "racism" that the media and leftists have tried to smear us with, especially over the last 12 months. Finding no indication of anything even close to these sentiments, the reports, while sometimes factually inaccurate, were almost universally positive in the portrayal of what the reporters witnessed that day.
Even so, some of the local Danville flag haters and faux "news agencies", frustrated by the fact that the event turned out to be one of the largest events in the Danville area this year, and that 700+ people came together, peacefully honored their ancestors, and left without incident or any display of hate or animosity, took to their blogs and social media to try and discredit the effort with the same old tired talking points.
My favorite is the one directed at me, personally, and is laughable. The reason, they say, that we (the Virginia Flaggers) have no business in Danville, is because we are not "from there". Sound familiar? It appears that these Neo-Yankees are sharing talking points. I have said it before and I will say it again. Danville is the Last Capital of the Confederacy. As a 9th generation Virginian and the Great Great Grandaughter of FOUR Confederate Veterans who fought from, and for, Virginia, I have not only the right, but the RESPONSIBILITY to stand up and speak out when her Confederate history and heritage is under attack"¦ in Danville, or WHEREVER it may occur across the Commonwealth and beyond. The double standard and hypocrisy is stunning. Civil Rights leaders are quick to travel across the country to any small town or big city where they perceive there has been injustice, and are welcomed with open arms and red carpet treatment, but Southerners are, apparently, only supposed to speak out about or protest injustice within the limits of the city or county in which they happen to reside....?
I even heard one "news reporter" comment that almost all the speakers at the event were from "out of town." Apparently, he has no clue as to how a typical Confederate Memorial or Flag Dedication services is held. This event was so big, so well supported, and so widely anticipated"¦ that we were able to have State and National leaders come and bring greetings on behalf of our heritage organizations. It was an HONOR to have the SCV National Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, under whose command the Danville SCV camps reside, come from his home in North Carolina. It was an HONOR to have the State President of the Order of Confederate Rose and the leader of the ANV Mechanized Cavalry travel from their home near Petersburg. It was an honor to have the SCV North Carolina Division Commander travel from his home. We had heritage leaders from South Carolina and North Carolina bring greetings, in addition to numerous LOCAL residents from the UDC, SCV Mechanized Cavalry, and the HPA. In addition, Danville residents led the Invocation, led the salutes, spoke about the life of General William Lewis Cabell, assisted in the Color, Honor, and Artillery Guards, and were given the honor of raising the flag. All 14 flag projects have been financed almost completely by contributions from Danville area residents, who also have done the lion's share of the work in constructing and maintaining the sites.
Finally, there is the sentiment by a few flag haters, that, when all is said and done, we are just mean spirited people trying to "get back" at City Council for what they did. They wouldn't really mind what we were doing (they say) if only we'd be "nicer" about it. Newly elected Danville Mayor Gilstrap echoed the sentiments of those who voted to remove the flag who continually tell us we all need to "move on", now that the decision was made. Apparently, those of us who refuse to do so, are held entirely responsible for any conflict that has arisen since the flag was ripped down almost a year ago. Curiously, the matter came up repeatedly over the last ten years or so, and every time it did, City Council voted to keep it flying... and yet the flag haters never "let it go" or "moved on", but kept continually pushing to have the flag removed.
Where were these council members and community leaders then? Why didn't they step up and tell everyone it was time to "move on" and leave the flag alone, when council voted to leave it alone as little as 9 months before the vote that FINALLY capitulated to the haters? As for the statements that we are "mean spirited" in our efforts...? Stuff and nonsense. Our behavior has been above reproach. If there were anything in our actions, words or deeds that was unacceptable or inappropriate, it would be front page news by now. There is nothing mean spirited about what we have done, but there is certainly, flowing within our veins, the same spirit of determination and refusal to back down that our ancestors carried into battle some 150 years ago.
I am utterly amazed at how our folks, who have a tendency to want to fuss and bicker among each other, have come together and stood shoulder to shoulder and pushed back to make all of this possible. I can't help but wonder" -- to those who criticize our actions", what would you do, if City Council voted to take down a symbol of, or monument to, YOUR history and heritage"?
We stood in Council Chambers on August 6, 2015 and warned members that there would be serious consequences if they voted to desecrate our monument and break the agreement made with the HPA. Council members decided that pandering and capitulating to a few agitators was more important than honoring their word, the history and heritage of Danville and the wishes of the majority of her citizens. .
12 months and 14 massive roadside Battle Flags in Danville later, we have kept our promise -- and we have not yet begun to fight.