Lee-Jackson Day Parade 2012

[H/T to W.D. Carlson, who emailed this video with the subject line: “God Bless Lee and Jackson and God Bless Dixie”]

I am ashamed to admit that in my ten years as a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia I never made the time to attend a Lee-Jackson Day parade.  Lexington is a beautiful city with an incredibly rich history and it certainly looks like everyone had a good time this past Saturday.  If you didn’t have a chance to travel to take part this is is the next best thing.  One question: Where is everyone?  The place looks deserted.  It also looks like there was no shortage of Confederate flags.  I say, it looks like there was no shortage of Confederate flags.  Which leads one to wonder why there was a need to file a lawsuit.

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18 comments… add one
  • John Maass Feb 13, 2012 @ 8:52

    There’s a very detailed article on the lawsuit here: http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/2012/febmar/scv-021202.htm.

    Interesting to note the 1993 case on the same issue in Lexington, which stated that the city may not “deny or abridge the right of the Plaintiff organization and its members … to … wear, carry, display or show, at any government-sponsored or government-controlled event or place … the Confederate flag….” the judge who made that decision is also going to hear the current suit.

  • Stuart Sanders Jan 18, 2012 @ 9:57

    I was exceptionally fortunate to grow up in Lexington. While I don’t know how many people attended this parade, I can offer an explanation as to why you don’t see crowds from this perspective. This was taken at the beginning of the parade–the marchers turn right on to Main Street out of the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery. Having marched in a few local Christmas parades and some W&L Mock Convention Parades, this is a typical starting point. It’s also the last residential block before you hit “downtown” (hence the houses rather than businesses), so most parade spectators will be a few blocks farther down, where it’s easier to see everything. Again, I haven’t heard a word about crowds, but spectators typically don’t line up to watch parades at this location–they are usually farther down the street.

    That said, if you get the chance to visit, please do–it’s a wonderful place with great historic sites and lots to do.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 18, 2012 @ 10:17

      Thanks for taking the time to write. I couldn’t agree more with you. This nonsense about the display of the Confederate flag should not prevent anyone from visiting and leaving a few dollars in Lexington.

  • Ray O'Hara Jan 17, 2012 @ 9:26

    The silent and grim solemnity of the re-enactor groups was like watching an army of ghosts/undead march by.
    It was rather eerie.

  • Pat Young Jan 16, 2012 @ 19:46

    The parade provides a valuable insight into the cause of Confederate defeat. If these living-historians are accurate, the Confederates reversed the normal ratio of muskets to flags.

  • Eric Jacobson Jan 16, 2012 @ 18:51

    I sat down and watched the video tonight. Now having never attended a Lee-Jackson parade previously, I have just one question and one brief comment. If you didn’t know this was a Lee-Jackson parade how could you tell it was intended to honor those two men and their sacrifices as Confederate soldiers? This appears to be a flag parade.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 17, 2012 @ 3:10

      I would argue that my research into the history of the Confederate soldier in the summer of 1864 does more to honor their memory than what you see in this video.

  • Corey Meyer Jan 16, 2012 @ 15:05

    Ok, so I have had some time on my day off and I counted the marchers in the parade via this video. I counted 362 including the kid in the stroller, but not the dog or the horses. I also was puzzled by the amount of silence during the parade. Where are all the cheering crowds?

    • Neil Hamilton Jan 16, 2012 @ 15:25


      As I have stated elsewhere, it really doesn’t matter how many folks were in the parade. What matters is the number of the citizens of Lexington and their views on their ordinances. It is there opinion and views that really matter.

      And until the SCV, UDC, and the Flaggers of Virginia take the time to actually discover what those folks think about that issue, all we are hearing are the opinions of outsiders and marchers.


    • ROBERT Jan 16, 2012 @ 15:32

      Seems like there was lack of promotion/advertising for this event. Or true stories of Lee/Jackson are no longer taught in schools. Or both. It’s too bad. They are my heroes.

      • Kevin Levin Jan 16, 2012 @ 16:15

        I suspect that part of the problem is that the negative response from within the heritage community following the Confederate flag ban on public poles kept a lot of people from Lexington. That’s unfortunate since, in the end, nothing much changed in the city. You can still parade through town and carry as many flags as you can hold. I actually have no problem with the parade. If you are going to do it anywhere it might as well be in Lexington given the connection to Lee and Jackson, but a little push back from within the community did not justify the outrage.

        • Margaret D. Blough Jan 16, 2012 @ 22:56

          Kevin-It’s even more ironic when you realize that much of the case law that restricts municipalities’ rights to regarding such parades/marches/demonstrations were set during the height of the Civil Rights Movement as courts struck down white Southern municipal leaders’ efforts to prevent or even criminalize Civil Rights demonstrations and marches.

          The only thing that is possibly even more ironic is the Supreme Court case that applied the First Amendment to the states via incorporation pursuant to the 14th Amendment to laws banning/criminalizing flying certain flags, Stromberg v. California 283 U.S. 359 (1931). http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0283_0359_ZS.html. Stromberg overturned a California statute that criminalized “displaying a red flag in a public place or in a meeting place(a) “as a sign, symbol or emblem of opposition to organized government” or (b) “as an invitation or stimulus to anarchistic action” or (c) “as an aid to propaganda that is of a seditious character.”” The appellant was a member of the Young Communist League, an affiliate of the Communist Party of the US.

          Life is a strange series of events.

          • Allen Jan 17, 2012 @ 5:36

            It’s simpler than that… The next time you go diving into case law, Margaret, you might want to concentrate on “viewpoint discrimination”. I suspect that if the city had passed an ordinance forbidding the display of *any* flag or banner from city-owned light poles then there would be no real legal issue at play, but that’s not what they did according to published reports. They allowed some, but not others. Now the courts will have to parse it out, and, again, if published reports are accurate the city will lose.

            • Andy Hall Jan 17, 2012 @ 6:16

              If the city had passed an ordinance forbidding the display of *any* flag or banner from city-owned light poles then there would be no real legal issue at play, but that’s not what they did according to published reports.

              The ordinance bars any flag, other than the U.S. national flag, that of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the City of Lexington. There are lots of news stories out there that say the city banned Confederate flags, but that’s not what the ordinance actually says:

              1. Only the following flags may be flown on the flag standards affixed to light poles in the City and no others:

              a. The national flag of the United States of America (the “American flag”).

              b. The flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Code of Virginia, Title 1, Chapter 5.

              c. The City Flag of Lexington.

              2. The American flag, the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City Flag of Lexington may be flown by the City on the light poles that have standards affixed to them on dates adopted by City Council. A copy of the dates for the flying of said flags is available through the City Manager’s office or the office of the director of public works. Currently the holidays or designated days are as follows: Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Flag Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Lee-Jackson Day, Presidents Day, and on the day of the annual Rockbridge Community Festival. On such dates or days the flag(s) may be flown for more than one day. No other flag shall be permitted.

              Nothing set forth herein is intended in any way to prohibit or curtail individuals from carrying flags in public and/or displaying them on private property.

              So it seems to me, as a layperson, that it’s going to be very difficult for the SCV to prevail under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, given that the city ordinance applies to all outside, non-governmental groups. Even one of the leaders of last weekend’s “flagging” event there, and an outspoken critic of the Lexington ordinance, acknowledged at the time that the “ordinance is air tight.

              I agree that, if the City of Lexington starts making exceptions down the road for other groups, but not the SCV, then they’re sunk, and they’ll lose a lawsuit in the same way, and for the same reason, that states have lost cases over SCV license plates, because they allow others to go forward. But for now, the city’s case seems legally solid to me.

              • Allen Jan 17, 2012 @ 7:59

                We’ll see what the court says. The ordinance itself says nothing about banning Confederate flags, but it’s also patently obvious, again from news reports and what I know of the debate in city council sessions, that the Confederate flag was the target of the ordinance and that the city crafted the ordinance to try and get around, at least on paper, any legal challenges. That happens from time to time.

                A few years back, Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County, Tenn. decided it wanted to up the wheel tax sticker for vehicles registered in the county by $25.00. But it turned out that any increase in “wheel tax” required approval by the state legislature, and the votes weren’t there. So Metro just called it a “revenue enhancement” or some such term and got away with it. Which is b.s., because the only people who pay the fee are those who register a vehicle, and the only place and time you pay the fee is at the county clerk’s office when you register a vehicle.

                But, back to the topic at hand, the ACLU is keeping an eye on things, and the Rutherford Institute is backing the SCV’s suit. They don’t usually sign on to losing propositions.

                • Pat Young Jan 17, 2012 @ 12:01

                  Not sure the Rutherford Institute is really a major Con Law outfit, more of an ideological group.

                  Villages all over the US determine what flags are flown from publicly owned flag poles. I can’t sue to force my organization’s flag be flown, which is essentially what the SCV is doing.

                  Folks should be careful to not say the Confederate flag has been banned in Lexington. That has not happened and would violate the 1st amend. They can be carried in plain sight legally or flown from private property.

              • Andy Hall Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:29

                Sorry, I flubbed that link above. It should read,

                Even one of the leaders of last weekend’s “flagging” event there, and an outspoken critic of the Lexington ordinance, acknowledged at the time that the “ordinance is air tight.”

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