Flagging the Museum Of The Confederacy – Appomattox, March 31, 2012
The first Flaggers arrived on the scene at 7:30 a.m. Thanks to the
scouting efforts of Va Flaggers, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and
Mechanized Cavalry members Capt. Tucker and Sgt. Wells, (whose intel
also provided the now infamous Ru Paul exhibit photo) we were able to
secure permission to use the property of Doug's Auto repair shop on the
corner directly across from the new museum. We had ample parking and
the use of road footage and an embankment that put us directly in front
of every visitor as they arrived and departed.
We set up by lining the road with stick flags, and positioning large
flags in stands along the embankment. Grayson Jennings secured several
flags with ground stakes and was able to hang a 6x9 at a great vantage
point. Bob Harris and Ashleigh Moody positioned themselves with a
banner directly across from the entrance and would hold that position
for the next 8 hours! Early on, Billy Bearden set up at the main
intersection, on a small hill overlooking the county and state police
and passing traffic. Passersby loved the Flags. Visitors were mixed
about 60/40. TriPp Lewis, Jack Lewis, and Karen Cooper joined him at
various times. He also placed 3 stick flags on a nearby chain link
fence, visible from the road, since the MoC was not going to fly any on
the grounds. He stayed on the hill until the SCVMC arrived, waving his
flag as they drove by.
A museum official approached and asked what group we were with. When we
told her we were the Va Flaggers, she began to scan her clipboard,
looking for our group to determine our place in the line up. We told
her we were pretty sure we were NOT on her list.
When it dawned on her that we were THE protestors, she proceeded to
inform us that the museum was expecting us and had set aside an "area"
just for us. We thanked her for the offer, but told her we liked the
position we had taken. She then told us that she was sympathetic to our
cause, believed that the cause of the flag ban was political correctness
and was not right, but that law enforcement would be coming to make us
move. We assured her that we had permission to use the land and that
the side of the road was a right of way, and that we would NOT be
moving. She left without satisfaction, calling over her shoulder
"Blessed are the Peacemakers!" We reminded her that peace could be made
very easily. All they needed to do was run a Confederate flag up one of
the poles and we would pack up and go away. She said she would take our
message back to her boss.
We never heard from any other museum officials.
The Mechanized Cavalry arrived around 9:00. What a beautiful sight and
sound as they rolled in! Mechanized member Tracy Wright brought signs
that displayed our messages for all to see. We spent the next hour
greeting guests, employees, and visitors as they arrived.
Before the ceremony and processional started, Susan Hathaway was
interviewed by Channel 13 Lynchburg.
At this point, there were about 59 Flaggers on the embankment
Just before the Processional opened the ceremony, the MD Color Guard
arrived, in spite of the request by the Commander-In-Chief to boycott
the ceremony. Ironically, we were positioned on opposite sides of the
street, directly across from each other. No negative comments were
vocalized to either passerbys or the color guard across the road from us
that could be heard. All Flaggers conducted themselves with the honor
and dignity due the ancestors and flags we were representing. Outsiders
and detractors (even some within our own Heritage community) predicted
trouble, but they were sadly mistaken.
At 10 a.m., the Maryland led guard began to march up the road to the
MoC. After they entered, the gates were shut, and the SCV Mechanized
Cavalry lined up and marched across, with Flaggers included. We walked
around the gates unmolested and wound our way past the crowd, who turned
and cheered as we passed, and took position within 20 feet of the
attendees. Billy tried to approach, but was stopped, we can only assume
due to his flag. Susan approached and was also stopped, but only
temporarily as she took photos. We held our position at the rear of the
crowd and stood silently during the ceremony.
THEN, during the speech given by Bud Robertson, the SCV Banner Plane
arrived! It was low, loud and fairly distracting. Many stopped
listening and turned cameras skyward to take pictures of the slow moving
"REUNIFICATION BY BAYONET SCV 1896"
As the U.S. and State Flags were raised on the grounds of the
"Reunification Promenade", a giant Battle Flag was also being raised,
just across the street and in open view of all. Cheers were heard from
the flaggers, as well as the museum crowd when it reached full height!
It was a glorious sight to behold! Seen below is MoC member Dick
Knight, who assured us that a flag would be up, on the grounds before
years' end. "Money talks", he said.
After the service, the Mechanized Cavalry made its way to the
Reunification Promenade and stood in silent and gallant protest. From
our vantage point across the street, it made a beautiful sight!
It was also during this time that Susan Hathaway was interviewed by a
reporter from the News Advance. The resulting article was picked up
by many newspapers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Flaggers ate their packed lunches in shifts over the next hour, while a
good crowd was always seen on the embankment.
Afterwards, Billy Bearden and Susan Hathaway made their way over to take
a look inside the museum. They encountered no interference, and were
free to walk around the grounds with their flags. After viewing the
exhibits, they took off their Va Flagger badges and asked an employee
what was going on with the people standing out there with flags. Her
response was almost ENTIRELY inaccurate.
She stated the protesters were mad because there was no Confederate flag
flying (true), and that they wanted the US Flag taken down (NOT true).
She said the Museum did not want to fly the flag because Appomattox was
all about reunification (NOT true), and that the protesters insisted on
flying a Confederate Battle Flag (NOT true) which had so many "bad
things" associated with it.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with Flagging and great
conversations with those who came to see what all the flags were all
about! The Mayor of Appomattox, having heard from Commander Givens
personally, stopped by to chat with us. He told us that he definitely
personally supported a Confederate flag being flown, but was unsure
about how to effectively make it happen.
Throughout the day, we would count Flaggers, who traveled from a total
of 6 states, including Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee,
North Carolina, and, of course, Virginia! By day's end, we had recorded
the names of 89 folks who came to stand with us! Reaction throughout
the day was overwhelmingly positive. Most people who were unaware of
the fact that Museum officials refused to fly a Confederate flag,
thought it wrong and agreed with our protest.
The VA Flaggers gave a rousing cheer as the men of the of SCV Camp 1694
"Flat Top Copperheads" arrived at the museum late in the day, after
drilling nearby. Many of the men of this camp are also re-enactors with
the 1st Stuart Horse Artillery. They were scheduled to have a bronze 12
pounder fire rounds as the ribbon was cut to open the MOC. After all the
turmoil and refusal of the MOC to raise a Confederate Flag, they
withdrew from participating. Blaine Hypes met with Linda Lipscomb on
3/27 to inform her of their decision. It was an honor and privilege to
have them join us for dinner at Granny Bee's, where food, fun, and
fellowship were plentiful!
Since Saturday, we have had almost universally positive press. Our
Anti-Confederate blogger friends have had so much trouble with finding
anything to post about us, that they have resorted to pulling
controversy out of thin air...
Following what turned out to be a WILDLY successful day for the Va
Flaggers and the SCV, where 89 people gathered to stand with flags
against the Museum of the Confederacy and its refusal to fly a
Confederate flag on the grounds of the new museum at Appomattox...
without even the SLIGHTEST HINT of any kind of controversial behavior,
our friends in the Anti-Confederate blogger world were reduced to
scraping the bottom of the barrel for subject matter for their troughs,
I mean, uh, blogs.
Yes...with no rude behavior from the Flaggers, and rousing support for
our cause from attendees, MoC employees, and even law enforcement, these
folks have decided to play the "animal cruelty" card, claiming that we
somehow "spooked" the horse ridden by the man who was portraying Gen.
Grant just before the re-enactment of the surrender. Seriously? Is that
the best they've got? Here's the scoop:
Billy Bearden and Susan Hathaway were finishing a tour of the museum and
decided to walk back across the street through the gate. As they
approached the gate, they saw the men and horses heading their way,
separated, and stood back, on either side of the gate. If one bothered
to pay attention to the video, he/she will notice that the first three
horses pass by them with no trouble. When Grant started to pass, it was
obvious he was having a bit of trouble with his mount. It is ALSO
obvious, if you actually WATCH the video, that Susan backs up slowly,
and put the fence post between her and the horse. Contrary to what these
bloggers want everyone to believe, the LAST thing on her mind was
spooking that horse. Her retreat was to get as far away as she possibly
could without adding to the horse's jitters.
Now...again...if you watch closely, you will see that the WIND, not
SUSAN, picks up just at the time the horse starts having a little
trouble, and her CBF is seen standing tall in the breeze for a few
moments. Anyone who knows us knows that we would never do anything to
endanger either a horse or human, but looking back on that video, we do
wonder if that gust of wind might have been one of the old boys having a
little fun with us out there that day. We like to think that whether we
are standing on the grounds of the Old Soldier's Home in Richmond, or on
land not far from Appomattox, the men we stand for are there with us,
and occasionally make their presence known...
Many, many thanks to all those who came out to stand with us! It was,
by far, the largest and most successful gathering for the Va Flaggers to
date. We signed up many new folks, and talked with several locals in
the Appomattox area about continuing the Flagging at the museum beyond
this first effort. It appears that the Appomattox branch of the
Virginia Flaggers may soon be forming! Special thanks to Commander
Givens and the SCV National General Executive Committee, for sponsoring
the banner plane and their ongoing efforts to encourage their members to
act against the museum, and to the Mechanized Cavalry for their
HONOR THE SOLDIER!
FLY THE FLAG!