Yes, the people who gathered in Lexington, Virginia are incensed about the removal of replica Confederate flags from Lee Chapel. They view it as a threat to their preferred narrative of the history of the Confederacy and the symbolism of the flag both during and after the war. The fact that the replicas will be replaced by original flags appears to have been lost by just about everyone. It suggests to me that this is not entirely about the removal of flags, but about who instigated it. Continue reading “What the Protest at Washington & Lee University is Really About”
Looks like somewhere around 250 to 300 people showed up today in Lexington, Virginia with their replica Confederate flags to voice their frustration with the recent decision by administrators at W&L University to remove other replica Confederate flags from Lee Chapel. No surprise that this crowd appears oblivious to the fact that the university will soon display authentic Confederate battle flags inside the chapel.
Even though they will not be displayed around the Recumbent Lee memorial for preservation purposes, I still do not see how this can be perceived as anything other than a drastic improvement.
Today’s rally, like previous rallies in Lexington organized by the SCV, will achieve nothing.
This is the first image of inside Lee Chapel that I’ve seen since the Confederate flags were removed.
With each perceived heritage violation the Virginia Flaggers somehow manage to place themselves further from the mainstream when it comes to the display of the Confederate flag. Their assumed stance that they alone ought to dictate what it means to commemorate and remember the Confederate past has won them very few, if any, allies in Virginia and beyond. Even after all the protests they have yet to garner one significant victory.
The controversy at W&L was a perfect opportunity for the Virginia Flaggers to demonstrate their ability to engage in some creative thinking and sincere interest in a solution that would be satisfactory to all constituents. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly all the Flaggers could muster was much of the same extreme outrage and self-righteousness in response to what most observers believe was a reasonable response by the president. Continue reading “Another Defeat For the Virginia Flaggers”
Amidst the focus on replica Confederate flags being removed from inside Lee Chapel on the W&L what has almost entirely been lost is the decision to properly exhibit original Confederate flags on a rotating basis in the museum space below the chapel. The first flag which will be displayed in the Lee Chapel museum is Battle Flag No. 62.
Captured at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, by the 12th New Jersey Infantry, this flag is believed to have belonged to the 26th North Carolina Infantry. A history of the 26th Infantry records the following report on the incident in which the flag was captured: “Our color bearer, a member of Company K, Facuett’s Company from Alamance County, succeeded in passing over this fence, but fell mortally wounded. He died that night with his face to the enemy. Our colors fell with our brave color-bearer not ten steps from the rock wall.” July 3 was the last day of fighting at Gettysburg.
Descriptions of the other battle flags scheduled to appear can be found here.
Yes, I can certainly see why so many people are outraged.