From: Susan Frise Hathaway
Date: Sun, Feb 19, 2012
To: Dixie Outfitters
As promised Flagging report for Wednesday, February 15th! Bear with me folks, this report is a little lengthy, but on such an amazing day on the Boulevard, it was hard to leave out anything!
It was a beautiful, sunny day. Sometime in the morning, I got to thinking that with weather like this, and the progress we had been making, it would be a good day to send the press an email, so I sent word to the local press that we would be out today, in our 22nd week of flagging the VMFA, 3:00 – Dusk, if they wanted to see some people waving Confederate flags. Late leaving work, I get a call from Grayson and Karen that CBS 6 was on site and wanting to do an interview. We had 10 Flaggers…Susan Hathaway, Grayson Jennings, TriPp Lewis, Barry Isenhour, Frank Yates, Jim Perkins, Karen Cooper, Sgt. Cliff Troutman, Fred Merridew, and Jack Adkins.
They took footage of the Flaggers, interviewed Barry, then me, then Karen, and waited for a Museum rep. to come out and give “their side” of the story. The Communications Director came out, and asked the crew to come inside.
…After being interviewed by the media and watching the Director talk on his cell phone and then tear out of the parking lot, Fred and I started to walk through the property to take position at the Chapel. As we started up the walk, 3 Security guards slid out of their hiding spot in the front of the building. Two stayed at the top of the sidewalk and one came down to meet us. He told us that we were not allowed to protest on the property. When we questioned him about specifics, he told us that we could walk through if we put the flags down, but not with the flags. He also said we could walk through with a U.S. flag, just not a Confederate flag. When we asked to see the policy in writing, he said he did not have a copy. When we asked when it was created, he did not know. “Just doing my job, ma’am” was the jist. We questioned him for quite some time and finally walked back to the sidewalk. So, Security is enforcing the “NO CONFEDERATE FLAGS ON MUSEUM PROPERTY” rule that the Board of Trustees enacted in order to remove the flags from the Chapel.
At this point, we realized that the grounds were CRAWLING with security. Generally, we will see one or two, maybe three guards, patrolling or walking the grounds. When Karen, Fred and I made our way (on the sidewalk) over to the Chapel, there were 4 guards standing on the grounds in the back, so at least 7 guards were out, patrolling the grounds! Karen and Fred walked around further and when they started to cut across from the Women’s home, all of the guards ran towards them. They backed off and Fred started towards the parking deck, and they started up the hill after him.
Meanwhile, back on the Boulevard, Grayson decides that he is going to see what happens if he stands on the corner, directly across from the entrance, which is on UDC property. He took position and drew a few guards
VERY SHORTLY thereafter, we realize why the Director was so agitated! When the museum closed, the Lincolns, BMW’s, Cadillacs and Jaguars started to arrive! It was a who’s who of Museum supporters, legislators, and public officials, arriving for a special evening, and thanks to the Security blitz and Grayson’s quick thinking, we were standing right where every single one had to pass by us!
We had many GREAT convos with some “important” people. Best one was the husband of a woman on the Board of Directors. Went something like this…
Him: “So, what is it going to take to get you people to go away?”
Me: “That’s easy…put the flags back up on the Chapel and we disappear”.
Him: “Which flag do you want back up?”
Me: (Point to the one on my shoulder) “This one! The battle flag! It is the one the soldiers raised every day. It is their flag. It belongs on their memorial”.
Him: “Well, what about another, less offensive flag?”
Me: “Nossir. Just this one. Put this one back up, we disappear.”
Him: “What about a plaque? Would you be happy with a plaque?”
Me: “Nossir. Battle flags back on Chapel, we disappear. Simple as that”.
In the end, he said that while he did not agree with flying the Battle Flag in general, he did feel like if it belonged anywhere it would be on a Confederate Memorial and should go back on the Pelham Chapel.
Once it looked like most of the guests had arrived and the Governor would not be making an appearance, the last 6 Flaggers standing, Grayson, Fred, TriPp, Karen, Barry, and I, made our way to our vehicles, still whistling Dixie and smiling about all the fun we had at the VMFA!
At 11:00, we all waited for the news report, which was pretty good! The Va Flaggers were mentioned by name. There were lots of shots of the Flaggers out front. The part they used from my interview talked about the fact that the Museum had dishonored American Veterans and the fact that the museum had broken the law. Bonadies said that they had not broken any law and that 1) the flags never flew on the Chapel before 1993 (so how do they explain the original paint under the flag stand they ripped off the front of the Chapel?)…and 2) that the SCV had agreed to take the flags down when they signed the lease (sure, under extreme duress and threat of losing the Chapel!)out, who could only stand and watch! When darkness fell, and I headed back around to the Boulevard, the remaining Flaggers had joined Grayson in this strategic position!