Va Flaggers Update 8-6-2012:  Flagging Lexington

On Sunday, August 5th, the Va Flaggers returned to Lexington, Virginia, to forward the colors and remind the City Council that we have not forgotten their despicable act of passing an ordinance in September 2011, banning the flags of Lee and Jackson from flying on city light poles in honor of the State Lee-Jackson holiday, and to continue to educate citizens and tourists.
Arriving at 10:00, we started the day with some quiet time in Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.  While visiting General Jackson’s grave, we met and spoke with a couple who were in town for a family reunion for descendants of Stonewall Jackson.  They knew nothing of the flag ban and were very unhappy when they learned the lengths  to which City Council went to remove the flags of their ancestor from the streets of Lexington.
As is our custom, we left a battle flag to honor Jackson and decorate the grave site.
At 11:00, we joined the congregation of Lauderdale Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for Sunday Services.  The church is adjacent to the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.  The Pastor and congregation were some of the friendliest and most welcoming folks we have ever met. We thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship, and the opportunity to worship with these good folks.
After worship, and determined to uphold a TOTAL boycott of Lexington, we headed out of town for a quick lunch.
Upon returning to Lexington, we gathered our battle flags and began walking Main Street.  Our very first encounter was with a couple from just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, who were visiting.  They had not heard about the ban and were outraged that such a thing had occurred in the town which was the home to Lee and Jackson.  Although they are not Southerners, they inquired as to what they could do to assist in our efforts, and vowed to make sure their voices were heard before they left Lexington.
Foot traffic was EXTREMELY light in town in the afternoon.   Automobile traffic was steady, and we were greeted with honks of approval, thumbs up, and shouts of "God bless you" and "Love your flags". Many residents mentioned the lawsuit, and we tried to update them as best we could as to the status of the appeal.  We had ONE negative comment all afternoon.  A young couple was walking past and just as they went by, the gentleman (I use that term rather loosely) turned around and shouted "Why don’t you people go back where you came from and leave us alone?".  We smiled, thanked him for his Southern hospitality, explained that the town of Lexington belongs to ALL Southerners who honor and revere Lee and Jackson,  and continued down the block.
This was the first time since the January Lee-Jackson holiday that the Va Flaggers have returned to Lexington, but by the time storms chased us away a little before 4:00 p.m., we were determined to return more often.  Local residents we spoke with assured us that support for our efforts is overwhelming in Rockbridge County.  If Mayor Elrod can be voted out of office in November, the door will be open to repeal the blatantly prejudicial flag ban and RETURN THE FLAGS to Lexington.
What can you do?
*BOYCOTT Lexington!  Visit the town to pay your respects to Lee and Jackson, but do not spend a dime inside the city and do not leave without letting someone know what you are doing and why.  We went to the Visitor’s Center and signed the guest book, leaving a message that we would not be patronizing any businesses until the flags are returned.
*Become a Flagger!  We need to keep this issue in the forefront of the citizens and the City Council.  Contact us for more information if you are interested in joining in this effort.
*Make plans NOW to attend Lee-Jackson day in January. and spread the word!
MY TWO CENTS: Why I will not spend a dime in ANY establishment in Lexington, Virginia until the flag ban is lifted:
1) Because I gave my word… see below… and
2) Because NOT ONE Lexington business owner stood up and spoke out against the ban.
3) Because we saw the smug faces and heard the comments about how a boycott of "our kind" would be welcome.
4) Because every penny spent, in LEX, even at a "friendly establishment", means money into the coffers of Mayor Mimi and the Lexington City Council, and funds the very people who spit on the graves of Lee & Jackson.
5) …and finally, because the days of compromise are over. You are either for us or against us, and NONE of these people were for us, Lee, Jackson, or our ancestors in that crowded, sweaty hall on September 1st!
RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!
My remarks to the Lexington City Council
Madame Mayor, Council Members, Lexington residents, and guests. I wish to begin by thanking you for the opportunity to address you all on the subject of the proposed ordinance that would ban the flying of Confederate flags from city light poles in celebration of Lee-Jackson day in Lexington.
My name is Susan Hathaway. I am not a Lexington resident. I drove from Richmond after work today to humbly represent those of us who, although we do not call Lexington home, consider it “our” town, as well. My father brought me here as a child, to pay honor to the memory of two of the greatest Virginians that ever lived. We visited their graves, and he taught my brother, my sister, and I, the importance of honoring our history and remembering the brave men who answered the call of duty in defense of Virginia. Years later, I brought my own children here, as well, aspiring to teach them the same valuable lessons.
I understand that the proposed ordinance is a result of the complaints of approx. 300 people who claimed they were offended by the flags that flew during the week leading up to Lee-Jackson Day this past January. With your permission, I would like to present a petition opposing this ordinance, signed by over 1600 individuals…FIVE times as many as the original petition that led to this ordinance…people like me…potential tourists, eager to visit the final resting place of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. My daughter and I attended the Lee-Jackson Day services in January. We stayed at the Lexington Inn, spent time and money in your shops and enjoyed dining in several local restaurants. By my receipts, we spent over $500, money that went directly into the pockets of Lexington merchants.
I know others have made, and will make the arguments about how ridiculous it is to let the rants of a few misinformed, prejudiced people make policy for a town that owes its very existence to these two men, so I will just say this… Those of us who, without malice toward any race, creed, or nationality, choose to honor our Confederate Ancestors and the sacrifice they made, are no longer willing to sit by quietly and allow their honor and memory to be denigrated!
If this ordinance is passed, I will use my sphere of influence and personally spearhead a boycott of Lexington. We will still gather to honor and celebrate these great men, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that everyone from New York to Florida with any interest in the War Between the States is made aware that the town that once accepted the sacred duty as the honored caretakers of our the final resting places of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, now despises the association and does not welcome us or our “tainted” money.
I lost my father a few months ago, after an extended illness. He was an amazing example to me of a Christian gentleman in every aspect of his life, and one of the most important things he taught me was to ALWAYS stand firm for what I know is right. It is in his memory, and the memory of so many others who have gone before him, that I stand before you today and respectfully request that if you came to this meeting determined to cast a vote in favor of this ordinance, that you reconsider, ignore the political pressures that you may be facing, and do the RIGHT thing…speak for those who no longer have a voice, and stand for those long buried, who…at least as long as I have breath,…will NOT be forgotten!
Join the fight to remove Lexington Mayor Elrod here:
Susan Hathaway
Va Flaggers