Thursday, January 30, 2014

VaFlaggers: Chesterfield Observer I-95 Editorial Rebuttal

Some of you may have seen the January 8 Letter to the Editor in the Chesterfield Observer regarding the Chester I-95 Memorial Battle Flag.

Our response was printed today, along with several other excellent letters from SCV members.  Here's ours...

Regarding the Jan. 8 letter “I-95 Confederate flag: legal but not wise,” I respectfully submit the following corrections and clarifications.

The flag that was raised alongside I-95 near the Old Bermuda Hundred overpass is the 3rd Bunting Issue of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, not the Stars and Bars as stated. The Stars and Bars was the name for the first national flag of the Confederacy, created in 1861, but later discontinued. The battle flag was used throughout the war and it was the flag of the Confederate soldier. The Confederate battle flag used at this location is historically accurate to honor the Confederate soldiers engaged in this area during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign.

Further, the statements made before, during and since the raising of the Chester I-95 Memorial Flag by the Virginia Flaggers made our intent and purpose perfectly clear — to pay homage to those brave Confederate veterans, who fought and died to protect Virginia’s citizens and soil. Mr. Logan’s accusations that he “knows” this to be untrue, are, at best, misguided and false, and at worse, slanderous, as he has, to my knowledge never met or known any of those who make up our group to be able to make such incendiary assumptions.

We also take exception to his claims that the Confederate battle flag is forever “tarnished” by certain hate groups that have displayed her. A cursory glance at the history of these various groups show that they have also used (and with the same frequency) the U.S. flag, the Bible and the Christian cross, just to name a few items, in their demonstrations and activities. By Mr. Logan’s logic, should these symbols also be banned, shunned and forbidden from future use? As Christians, we refuse to allow them to “hijack” our faith. As Americans, we refuse to allow them to “own” the Stars and Stripes. And as the descendants of Confederate soldiers, we will not allow them to tarnish our banner. We suggest, instead, that these people should be dealt with accordingly, based on their deeds and actions, instead of assigning blame to certain symbols they use.

Finally, Mr. Logan tosses out the inflammatory “connection” of the Confederate Battle Flag to the Nazi swastika. This analogy can only be based on ignorance or a desire to incite. At no time in its existence did the Confederate Army take part in the murder of 6 million people because of their race. Any comparison is an insult to Holocaust victims, survivors, and their families. The grandsons of the same Confederate soldiers we honor, fought and defeated the Nazi army, many of them carrying the Confederate battle flags of their grandfathers with them overseas.

Perhaps instead of lecturing us about inaccurate facts and false motives, Mr. Logan should endeavor to further his education on the War Between the States, and search his own heart for the seed of hate that would lead one to write such a letter.

Susan Hathaway
Virginia Flaggers

Read this and other letters online here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Va Flaggers Update 1-28-2014

Funeral Arrangements for Va Flagger, Sgt. Cliff Troutman are complete.

The family will receive visitors at Bliley's Funeral Home, 6900 Hull Streets Road, Richmond, VA 23224, Thursday, January 30th from 6:00-8:00pm Funeral. Memorial Service - Friday, January 31st at 12:00 noon at the Chapel at Bliley's. Interment 2:00 p.m. at Virginia, Veterans' Cemetery in Amelia, with full military honors.

Anyone wishing to participate in a Confederate Color Guard at the interment, please contact Susan Hathaway.

Earlier this month, I met with the Campbell Guards, Camp #2117, SCV in Lynch Station, Virginia.  I had a great time meeting some of the fine folks who came out, and speaking with them about the Va Flaggers, and heritage defense in Virginia. 

I was thrilled to see many of these folks in Lexington, joining the Flaggers in honoring Lee & Jackson, and standing with us to protest the City Council's discriminatory flag ban. 

Many thanks to the men of the Campbell Guards and their guests for the warm welcome, hospitality, and generous support of the Va Flaggers!


Speaking of Lexington...

Many thanks to all who joined us over the two days to forward the colors in the City of Lee and Jackson.

More reports coming soon...

Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers
P.O. Box 547
Sandston VA 23150

Monday, January 27, 2014

Flagging Lexington: A First Time Flagger's Eye-Witness Perspective

First time Flagger Keith H. takes a moment to share his impressions after spending two days with the Virginia Flaggers in Lexington...

"Thanks Susan, I have already described the events at VMI as once in a lifetime spiritual experience. I want to describe a couple more observations, being a first time Flagger.

First is how polite and inviting all the Flaggers were. Everyone made sure I was introduced to any one I didn't know. Believe me, that's rare these days. I felt at home.

2nd is I felt something different with this group. Having been associated with similar groups in the past I see this one is out to make a difference and doing it in the right way. It's different when a family sees 75 citizens that look as normal as them, only they carry the flag, than it is when they see re-enactors. Dont get me wrong. They do great work and are keepers of the flame, but when they see citizens protesting a wrong it makes a different kind of impression. AS in hey, this is going on now, and these people are taking a stand now, not 150 years ago.

Last thing I will never forget are the citizens along the parade route...they were with us!  I can't count how many thank you's and atta boys I heard, many  from women and children! Oh and last was singing Dixie with the Keydets and the rebel yell I know sounded exactly like it would have in 1861. Chills up my arms down my spine. Was truly a spiritual moment."

Keith H.
Hardy, Virginia

Saturday, January 25, 2014

30 x 30 ANV Battle Flag Hoisted in Tampa

New ANV flag at the Tampa flag site!

 The Va Flaggers are honored to have had a small part in helping to make this happen. 
God bless the men of the Jubal Early Camp!


"Thanks to the financial support from you I am pleased to announce at 4 :15 PM EST the Army of Northern Virginia flag was hoisted and flying in a cool West Coast Florida breeze.

The beauty and power cannot be sufficiently described unless you are within a half mile of the site. The notion that a square flag would not fly as well as others was settled this afternoon.

Visit the Early Camp web site frequently for photos Sunday.

Forward the Colours"
Mike Herring
Commander, Jubal A. Early Camp #556, SCV
Tampa, FL

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lee-Jackson Day 2014: Honoring Gen. Jackson at VMI

The Lee-Jackson weekend in Lexington was an incredible experience for all who attended, above and beyond all expectations. We are working on an extensive report, but wanted to share a bit more about this photo, which has quickly become one our all-time favorites.

We had planned this long before we heard of the restrictions put in place by VMI this year. The fact that the annual Lee-Jackson Day parade was not ending on their grounds meant a quick change of plans, so that we put the word out to gather after the service at the LEE Chapel, instead of immediately following the parade.

At the conclusion of the the Chapel service, we trudged up the hill to the parade grounds at VMI, and gathered in front of the Jackson statue, at the Jackson arch. Unlike previous years, there were several units of Keydets drilling around the grounds. As we unfurled the 22 x 32 flag, and positioned it for a photo, we noticed that the units had stopped drilling to watch. After several minutes of photos and quiet reflection, we began to sing Dixie. In years past, the echo of the song off of the high building was enough to send goose bumps up and down all who gathered, but NOTHING prepared us for what happened next... we sang, many of the Keydets joined in the chorus, one by one. Dixie's Land bounced off of the buildings and echoed loud and strong, and when we finished, we turned to find that many of the windows had opened and Keydets were gathered. They added their voices to a Rebel Yell at the close of the song that was extended in length and loud enough that it was certainly heard by Jackson himself in the heavens. Shortly after that, a Confederate Battle Flag appeared from one of the windows.

We were honored to be a part of this moment of remembering Jackson on the grounds that he knew so well, and pleased to find that despite what appears to be attempts by the administration to remove the proud legacy that Jackson and the Confederacy have bestowed on the school, the student body still has a healthy respect and admiration for the man who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Virginia.


Susan Hathaway

Va Flaggers

*Many thanks to Judy Smith Photography for the wonderful photo, and to our friend Greg Randall for joining us and lending his support and handsome likeness of the general! 

In Loving Memory: Sgt. Clifton J. Troutman III

The Virginia Flaggers are saddened to announce that we have lost a beloved friend and Flagger, and our country has lost a true hero.

Sgt. Cliff Troutman died in a fire at his home on Saturday, January 18, 2014. Almost as soon as we organized, Sgt. Troutman searched out the Va Flaggers and instantly became one of our most ardent supporters and dedicated Flaggers. As famous for his "Confederate Pig" pork rinds as his legendary status as one of the "Walking Dead", Sgt. Troutman was an inspiration to us all and he will be greatly missed.

"Sgt. Troutman was a Tar Heel, with ancestor from the 4th N.C. Regiment of Bryan Grimes, one of the hardest fighting Tar Heel Units in the war. The 4th would suffer and endure one of the highest casualties of N.C. Units, beginning at the battle of Seven Pines, where the unit of Grimes was almost decimated.

He was as a Marine, a Vietnam Marine. But, there's more to say because he was with the famed 1 - 9th Marines in Vietnam called the Walking Dead. Sgt. Troutman saw war and he saw death, just like his ancestor with the 4th North Carolina. The Marine Unit 1 9th would be with the hardest fighting Marine unit in Vietnam. Troutman told me that he came ashore in the first wave of Marines, landing at Red Beach in 1965, a place that I would hear about many times at DaNang, and that he had 2 or 3 tours of duty there.

During the Vietnam War, the unit earned the name "The Walking Dead" for its high casualty rate.[1] The battalion endured the longest sustained combat and suffered the highest killed in action (KIA) rate in Marine Corps history, especially during the Battle of July Two. The battalion was engaged in combat for 47 months and 7 days, from 15 June 1965 to 19 October 1966 and 11 December 1966 to 14 July 1969. Based on a typical battalion strength of 800 Marines and Navy hospital corpsmen, 93.63% (747) were Killed In Action (KIA) and 0.25% (2) were Missing In Action (MIA).

FEW VIETNAM Veterans would endure and suffer the numbers of tours in Vietnam and the service where death among brothers was a daily occurrence, and the enemy suffered and endured the losses of great numbers. We have lost one of America's Great Warriors.

Sgt. Troutman has Resumed His Watch with the Walking Dead, And I Salute His Journey - Finding his Friends and Lost Compatriots and Comrades in Arms, Who Became Forever Young from 1965 - 1972. Troutman will be there with his Confederate Flag for sure, telling his friends - "Saddle Up Marines, it's Time to Lock and Load'." - Bobby Edwards

In his memory, the Va Flaggers will continue our vigil, knowing he has joined the Great Cloud of Witnesses, watching and cheering us on...

" Iron Lady"  :)
Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers

Thursday, January 16, 2014

VMFA Update 1-15-2014

Despite the recent cold snap and some VERY stormy afternoons, the Va Flaggers have continued our vigil at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as 2014 kicked off, with Flaggers forwarding the colors at least twice a week.

Va Flaggers engage pedestrians and pass out fliers detailing the situation at the Confederate Memorial Chapel...and post the colors on the Boulevard in front of the VMFA. :)

These ladies were visiting from Pennsylvania.  After the Flaggers helped them park their car, they were happy to pose with our flags. 

Va Flaggers gather in front of the Confederate Memorial Chapel...


In 2010, the VMFA Virginia Museum of Fine Arts forced the removal of Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel on the grounds of the Old Soldiers' Home in Richmond, desecrating the memorial and dishonoring the men who lived and died on the grounds, and in whose memory the Chapel is dedicated. SADLY, many think that we, the sons and daughters of these men, should just "let it go" and "get over it".

The Va Flaggers think that resignation and compromise such as this is what has gotten us to exactly where we are today and we say NO MORE. The time has come to stand and defend the honor and valor of these men, and 118 weeks after we began our vigil, we are more determined than ever to stay the course.

Will you join us?

Flagging the VMFA  this Saturday, Tuesday, January 18th, Noon - 4:00 p.m., 200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA. If you cannot join us on the sidewalk, PLEASE support the troops on the ground by calling the museum and asking them to RETURN THE FLAGS to the Confederate Memorial Chapel and RESTORE THE HONOR to the Confederate Veterans who built her. Call the Board of Trustees Office at (804) 340-1595.


Grayson Jennings
Va Flaggers

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

This is the Third Reunion of Mosby's Rangers, held in Richmond, Virginia on July 1, 1896. The Rangers are on the steps of the Virginia Capitol. 

We'd like to think they were smiling down on us when we stood in the same spot over 100 years later, and unveiled the flag that would be raised on I-95 in their honor, and in memory of ALL of our Confederate Dead.


Va Flaggers

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lexington Update

As we prepare to take to the sidewalks of Lexington January 17-18, the local media once again gets it ALL WRONG...

“Battle Flag Still an Issue in Lexington

A group that was denied permission to fly the Confederate battle flag from utility poles in Lexington has all but guaranteed that no other flag, aside from the American flag and Virginia flag, will be flown in the city.

It’s one more example of the narrow-minded approach to civic life by the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They refuse to understand that the battle flag is a polarizing image to many people, including African-Americans for whom it is a symbol of racism and oppression and that it stands for a defense of slavery."

No, this is actually one more example of the ignorance of the editorial board of the News-Advance, since the Confederate Battle Flag WAS NOT among those displayed from City Light Pole flag stands the week leading up to the State Holiday! 
(See our LTTE response below)


Join the Va Flaggers as we take to the streets of Lexington on the Lee-Jackson Holiday - Friday, January 17th and Lee-Jackson Day, Saturday, January 18th- to celebrate the Lee-Jackson State Holiday, honor our heroes, and protest the Lexington City Council's discriminatory flag ban, which was passed to prohibit the display of Confederate Flags from flag stands on City light poles to honor Lee and Jackson during the Holiday.

We will meet at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery Friday, January 17th at 10:00 a.m. to receive literature, instruction, and maps.  Lunch on your own (OUTSIDE of Lexington*).  Flag all day.  Dinner at 5:30 (Berky's restaurant) and back to town for a Confederate Picture show after dark. ;)  We will be on Main Street  flagging all day, so join us any time you can, for as long as you can. 

Saturday, we will attend the memorial service at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (meet at Cemetery at 10:00 a.m.) and then march as a unit in the parade (11:15 a.m.), and attend the RE Lee Memorial Service (12:00 p.m.). Lunch (OUTSIDE of Lexington*) on your own,and then back to town for MORE FLAGGING! ALL Confederates are welcome to join us in the parade or ANY or all of the activities! All that is required is a Confederate flag, a desire to honor our ancestors, and a smile!

*We support and a TOTAL BOYCOTT OF LEXINGTON, encourage all to do the same, and ask that everyone let the merchants and civic officials know why you will not be spending a dime while there. 

The countdown is on!  Will you STAND and be counted?!?!?!

RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!

Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers

Dear Editor,

Three flags were the cause of dispute in Lexington, which resulted in the much contested Flag Ban law instituted on September 1st, 2011:   the General Lee's Headquarters flag, the 2nd National Confederate Banner, and the Virginia State Flag of 1861.

Your editorial incorrectly ascribes the Battle Flag as the sole cause.

The Virginia State flag was born in April, 1861, and her first 4 years were used to guide Virginia troops to defend Virginia soil.

The Lee's HQ flag was used to designate the command center of Lee, and very closely resembles the current Georgia State flag. Washington and Lee University bears his name, as does Lee Chapel.

The 2nd National Banner was first used to drape the casket of General Stonewall Jackson. He made VMI famous.

Lexington was the final home for both Lee and Jackson.  They made Lexington what it is today, and the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes both of these great men with the annual Lee-Jackson State Holiday. The use of those three flags are most appropriate to celebrate the holiday, as was the original intent in January 2011.

Folks may disagree over the Battle Flag, but it was a great disservice to the readers of your newspaper to attempt to heighten passions where none should exist, by claiming the Battle Flag was an issue in Lexington City Council's flag ban ordinance.  

Thanks and God Bless
Billy Bearden