POSTED: November 22, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — About 50 people rallied in defense of the Confederate flag Saturday at city-owned Elmwood Cemetery that flies over the graves of Confederate veterans.

Critics call it a symbol of hate and want it lowered or removed.

Mark Palmer is president of a group whose ancestors are buried in the cemetery. He said "history should be left alone.”

Charlotte City Council member Warren Turner earlier this year called attention to the flag, which was apparently installed about a decade ago by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Turner, who said he didn’t think the flag should be visible to cemetery neighbors and city visitors, wants the flag reduced to a lower height.

Others want it gone.

Saturday’s speakers included former Charlotte City Council member Don Reid and H-K Edgerton, former head of the NAACP in Asheville who is an outspoken supporter of the flag.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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