Check out this photograph of the latest large Confederate battle flag off of I-64 installed by the Virginia Flaggers in protest over efforts to remove Confederate monuments in Charlottesville and elsewhere. As you can see it flies defiantly and is likely clearly visible from any direction. Just kidding. There is no photograph.
Driving west toward Charlottesville on Sunday I kept a sharp eye out for the flag, but to no avail. On the way back to Richmond today I once again paid careful attention even for a glimpse. I thought I might have the opportunity to take a quick pic with my phone. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I didn’t see it until I was right on top of it. The flag is likely visible during the winter months, but at full foliage it is completely obscured, which is bizarre given that the spring/summer months are peak tourist season.
This has been a problem for the Flaggers from the beginning. There are a few flags – most notably the one near Fredericksburg that are impossible to miss – but it is a testament to their incompetence that not all of them achieve the level of visibility that should be ensured given the costs and maintenance of such an endeavor.
As I mentioned above the flag was placed in protest over recent events in Charlottesville and elsewhere, but its location in Louisa County leaves it completely disconnected from any meaningful conversation. Even it was visible year round few people will have any idea of the intentions behind it.
Like the other flags it is located on private property, which raises the most obvious problem for this sort of project. Property owners have always had the right to fly flags, but they do not in any significant way counter the flags, monuments, and other Confederate symbols that have been removed from public spaces.
The former reflects the outlook of the individual property owner while a public symbol is supposed to represent the collective values of the entire community. Every flag raised by the Virginia Flaggers points to the continued erosion of the public celebration and commemoration of the Confederacy – a point that this group has never understood.
In fact, if you are keeping count, it’s been seven years since the Flaggers first started protesting the removal of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It has yet to return. And unless I am mistaken not a single protest and/or boycott by the Virginia Flaggers has ever led to the return of a Confederate monument or flag from a public or private space.