Ringgold City Council stands firm on flag issue

Tim Carlfeldt

After emerging from a lengthy, closed-door session Thursday evening, the Ringgold City Council indicated that it will stand by its 2005 decision to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from flying over the Civil War monument at the Ringgold Depot.

Mayor Joe Barger announced that the council had instructed city attorney Steve Farrow to craft a response to a group which recently notified the city in a letter that it is seeking to have the flag hoisted once again.

The Southern Legal Resource Center is representing the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Ringgold’s Joseph McConnell SCV Camp 1859.

Farrow said the city is taking the position that it has the prerogative of what flag to fly over the monument on its property. “Ringgold does not have any legal obligation to fly any particular flag,” he said.

The SCV maintains that the familiar “Stars and Bars” flag is the appropriate one to fly over the monument, and indicated in its letter that the city may have acted in violation of Georgia law by violating the integrity of the monument.

Farrow dismissed that argument saying, “To take a flag down is not in any way altering the monument. There have been different flags flying there from time to time.”

Citing the flag as a symbol of hate, several Ringgold residents led by the African American community urged removal of the flag, and the council split 3-2 on a vote to remove it in March 2005.

In other council business, a unanimous vote put forth the city’s intention to seek an alternate site for a Confed-erate Memorial Day rally by the New Confederate Partisans, a southern heritage group.

The council had rejected the group’s request to hold the April 26 rally downtown at Citizen’s Park, citing “safety reasons” regarding the size of the park and the crowd expected to attend.

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