From: Georgia Flagger <>
Date: April 28, 2009

Please find below a press Release from the Alabama Division Sons of Confederate Veterans that will go out in the mail today to The local District Attorney, Alabama Attorney General, and U.S. Chief Judge for the Middle District of Alabama.

I have consulted with Alabama Division Judge Advocate Philip Davis on the matter and he informs me that for us to get the District Attorney and Attorney General to act, they will need political pressure to do so. 

To accomplish this I am calling for an intense letter writing campaign to the Four offices below.  Please keep your letters civil, but firm.

There is a very real likelihood that further calls for other action will be soon forthcoming.  The Alabama Division SCV will do everything in our power to bring this miscreant to justice.

Please forward this information to your camps.(CHAPTERS & FRIENDS) 
Alabama Division Adjutant Mike Ricketts:  Please forward this to your email list. (ALL YOU WHO LOVE YOUR HERITAGE, PLEASE FORWARD TO YOUR LIST OF FRIENDS)

I thank you all for your time and effort on this very important issue.


Robert Reames
Alabama Division Commander
Sons of Confederate Veterans


Alabama Governor Bob Riley
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130

District Attorney’s Office
37th Judicial Circuit of Alabama
Nick Abbett
2311 Gateway Drive, Suite 111
Opelika, Alabama 36801-6889
State of Alabama Attorney General Troy King
500 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130
United States District Court Middle District of Alabama
Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller
c/o Ms. Debra P. Hackett
Clerk of Court
U.S. District Court
P.O. Box 711
Montgomery, AL 36101-0711

Text from press release (original signed on Division Letterhead)

Press Release – April 28, 2009
The Alabama Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, repudiates the lawless behavior of Auburn City Councilman Arthur L. Dowdell in removing Confederate Memorial Flags from veteran’s graves at Pine Hill Cemetery in Auburn , AL .   Confederate veteran graves are to be lawfully respected as any other American veteran graves, according to United States Congressional Law.

Councilman Dowdell stated the flags were offensive to him.  He then broke Alabama state law when he trespassed on private property, and desecrated sacred burial sites, and that is offensive to us.

By stealing and destroying the flag that was placed on a veteran’s grave, in the very presence of his descendant, Councilman Dowdell violates every tenet of decent human behavior.  He showed a dangerous propensity for taking the law into his own hands, an action that will not be tolerated or otherwise encouraged in others.

We believe this crime was motivated by hate, and want to see justice done.  We are requesting that the local District Attorney prosecute Councilman Dowdell to the fullest extent of the law, and if need be, we are counting on the Alabama Attorney General to see that the laws of Alabama are upheld.   Further, we would like to see Federal Prosecuting Attorneys convict Dowdell for violating United States hate crime laws.
Robert C. Reames
Alabama Division Commander
Sons of Confederate Veterans


Reference Material

Opelika-Auburn News


Published: April 23, 2009

Mary Norman was shocked Thursday afternoon when Auburn Councilman Arthur L. Dowdell pulled up a Confederate flag placed on her great-grandfather’s grave and snapped it in half, she said.

Dowdell, who denies snapping the flag, said Thursday he was picking up his daughter from Auburn Junior High School near the cemetery when several people told him they “had a problem” with the flags.

He drove to the cemetery and started pulling up flags, he said.

“It’s offensive to me,” he said. “To me, it represents the Ku Klux Klan and racism.”

The United Daughters of the Confederacy placed the flags earlier this week, as they have done for 50 years, in preparation for a celebration Sunday of Confederate Memorial Day, Norman said.

Confederate Memorial Day will be celebrated as a state holiday in Alabama Monday.

“I really didn’t know exactly how to respond to him,” she said. “I happen to be a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy.20I was very surprised, especially (as he is) a city councilman. I was amazed.”

Norman was not personally involved in placing the flags.

“I’m a historian,” she said. “We’re not about hate, we’re not about anything like that. We just want to honor our state’s rights, and I’ve got Confederate ancestors, and I feel we should have the ability to do that.”
Norman and a friend were takin g inventory of graves at Pine Hill Cemetery in Auburn when Dowdell drove up and asked who put up the flags, she said.

“One of the flags had been placed on my great-grandfather’s grave, who was a Confederate soldier,” Norman said. “He just got very upset, and he went over to my great-grandfather’s grave, picked up the flag and broke it in two.”

She said Dowdell did not know the plot she stood on was her family’s. The flags were placed on soldiers’ graves as a mark of respect, she said.

He pulled up Confederate flags from other soldiers’ graves, too, she said.

Dowdell said in his years as councilman, he had never seen so many Confederate flags in one place.

“I’m going on the record that this will never happen again,” Dowdell said. “This will never happen again as long as I’m on the city council.”

Dowdell denied intentionally snapping the flag.

“It might have snapped itself,” he said. “If it did, so what? If I had my way, I would have broke them all up and stomped on them and burned them. That flag represents another country, another nation.”

Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said he was unaware of any incidents at the cemetery but said he talked with Dowdell Thursday afternoon. Ham said his understanding was that all city cemeteries have covenants governing how and what types of decorations can be placed on graves, except for Pine Hill because it is so old. Ham said he believed Dowdell asked an assistant city manager to look into making policies equal for cemeteries across the city.

“The bottom line is those grave plots are deeded property,” Ham said. “We sell those. So they are sold to the family of the individuals, and I think (plot owners) have a right to do exactly what they did, according to the city attorney.”

Ham said in his conversation with Dowdell, the councilman suggested the flags be placed on the graves for a shorter period of time, perhaps for 24 hours before the event.

For now, the remaining flags will stay on the graves because of the lack of covenant governing Pine Hill, Ham said. But that could change in coming years.

“I certainly think we need to be consistent in all the cemeteries with whatever the policy is, not only with this, but with everything,” Ham said. “The council has got to make that decision.”

Alabama Code on desecration of venerated objects.
Section 13A-11-12
Desecration of venerated objects.
(a) A person commits the crime of desecration of venerated objects if he intentionally:
(1) Desecrates any public monument or structure or place of worship or burial; or
(2) Desecrates in a public place the United States or Alabama flag or
any other object of veneration by the public or a substantial segment thereof.
(b) Desecration of venera ted objects is a Class A misdemeanor.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, &sect;5555.)
U.S. Federal Law
Public Law 85-425 passed on May 23, 1958 states: “…….the term ‘veteran’includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War….”