3/8/2005 6:24 PM By: Shawn Flynn, News 14 Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Confederate flag is no longer flying above Elmwood Cemetery in uptown Charlotte.

City Manager Pam Syfert made a general rule Tuesday morning that says only the American, state and city flags can fly on city property.

The decision drew immediate criticism. The flag has flown for the past decade at Elmwood, where there is a monument dedicated to former Confederate soldiers.

“It is inherently wrong for the city to come in and take down this symbol of heritage for the people who fought and died under that flag,” said Doug Hanks, who wanted the flag to stay.

Others claimed, however, that the flag was a symbol of oppression, and they wanted the flag down.

Syfert said she spent a year examining the controversial issue before making her decision.

“We listened and took their opinions into a great deal of consideration,” she said. “But in the end, I didn’t agree with where their conclusion was.”

The flag was taken down and its pole was removed. But those who fought for the flag said they will not give up easily.

“We have a couple of things in mind of doing,” Mark Palmer said. “Some of them are legal. Some of them will be protests. We will remember this at election time.”

Syfert said she knew her decision would upset some people. But she hoped it would quickly become accepted.

“I think it’s a good decision, it’s a fair decision, and it’s viewpoint-neutral,” she said. “So I certainly would think — from my perspective — it would be the end of it.”

The soldiers’ memorial will remain at Elmwood. City leaders said that small Confederate flags are still allowed to be placed near the tombstones.

Copyright ©2005Charlotte News Channel

On The Web: http://www.news14charlotte.com/content/local_news/?AC=&ArID=88461&SecID=2