By Joshua Quinn,

Richmond County’s entire commission and former Mayor Bob Young are being sued by a southern heritage group. They say the city is breaking state law.

A group out of Gainesville, Georgia, called the Georgia Heritage Coalition is suing the city of Augusta for taking down the Confederate flag almost a year ago.

According to Georgia code, it’s unlawful to remove or conceal any publicly-owned state or Confederate monument, plaque, marker or memorial.

Woody Highsmith, who runs the Augusta chapter of the Heritage Coalition, says the flag that was removed falls under that category.

“The confederate flag is an American flag,” Highsmith said. “It’s the flag of American veterans who fought and died for their home, their states, their family and their country.”

Henrietta Combs and Betty Clarke were visiting the Riverwalk from out of town on Wednesday. They say removing the Confederate flag without majority opinion was wrong.

“Whether we like it or not,” said Combs, “it’s history. I think it should have been voted upon whether

[the flag] stayed or not.”

“I don’t think one person should take it upon himself what to do for a whole city,” said Clarke. “Even if that man is the mayor.”

Now Highsmith will ask a judge to overrule that man’s decision and restore the honor he says his family and the families of other southern veterans deserve.

City Administrator Fred Russell, interim Mayor Willie Mays and former Mayor Bob Young all declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Calls to city attorney Steve Shepard were not returned.

Copyright ©2005 WAGT Television Inc

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