It has been quite some time since we reported on our ongoing flagging efforts at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA).  Although we have been involved in many other activities and are engaged in many other battles across the Commonwealth, our first and primary effort is still to RESTORE the flags to the portico of the Confederate Memorial Chapel, and RETURN the honor to the Confederate Veterans who lived and died there.

Over the past several months, we have continued our TWICE weekly flaggings, and this month, entered our 52nd month of Flagging the VMFA.  Here are a few highlights from the first few weeks of 2016…

January 2nd, 2016 – First Flagging of the New Year! Highlights included visitors from France who appreciated our flags and the history of the Old Soldiers’ Home.

?
January 7th, 2016:  Chilly and mostly cloudy, 6 Flaggers gathered on the sidewalk in front of the VMFA. Good conversations and several chances to educate the public. Several folks stopped to offer their support and pose for photos.


?

January 12th, 2016: SOLO FLAGGER!  As long as there is one willing to stand, our Cause is never lost!


?

January 20th, 2016:   FRIGID temps did not stop the Flaggers from making their stand, although it did drive our lone “counter-protestor/agitator” inside to “protest” from inside the VMFA.


?

January 28, 2016:  Thursday evening flagging. The sidewalks had been cleared of the recent snow and several Flaggers made their way to the Boulevard, including a guest flagger all the way from NORTH CAROLINA!

This man, who was arrested and convicted of curse and abuse after attacking Flaggers last year, showed up and stood at the other end of the sidewalk holding a sign that read “KKK”.


?
One of our Flaggers that day relayed this story of an encounter with a citizen who stopped to chat with him…

“We had a guy stop by and ask what we were doing. He had two young girls of color with him. He was white. We explained about the chapel, and he agreed it was wrong. He said he was a home school teacher and he and his students had gone to some event at the capital. He told us that “Loogieman” (our nickname for this man because of his propensity to spit at us and our flag) was accusing us of being KKK. We assured him that wasn’t so, and, in fact, we don’t entertain anyone in the Klan in our membership. He said he didn’t think so. Apparently he and the girls weren’t too impressed with Loogieman’s presentation and demeanor. They basically called him a weirdo and nut case. The teacher dismissed the kkk slur and attributed it to ignorance of history. We agreed. They all walked away, pleased with our conversations. The two girls were really sweet and nice, about 15 or so , polite. I don’t think they will communicate with loogieman again.”

FOUR years and four months after we began flagging the VMFA…and all the few agitators who choose to “protest” us can come up with is lies and slander.  “Truth, crushed to earth…”

January 30. 2016:  Saturday flagging…the last of January, 2016, brought sunshine but chilly temps and snow still underfoot. Conversations and comments were almost all positive, and 7 Flaggers were on hand to forward the colors.

Thursday, Februry 4th, 2016: Cloudy, rainy and cold! One of our Flaggers filed this report:

“We got to the VMFA around 3:00 and were both set up and ready for action of which, unfortunately, there was little. As the minutes passed, it got colder and colder, and the wind picked up, causing both of us to swear it was somewhere around 2 degrees. One of the pro-life people came over and chatted a few minutes about the sorry state of things.

Loogieman showed up, muttered something about the “Guns Save Lives” sticker on my truck, went past and down to another vehicle and started giving the flags the finger. At the time, we had a couple of kids, one black and one white, stop and talk to us. They asked us if we were the KKK. Of course not, we answered. But, apparently they saw Loogieman last week on the street corner with a KKK sign. I told them he was just a nut case with an attitude. We then chatted about the flag, etc, I explained a little history to them and we talked about various things, basically to show them we weren’t some kind of monsters. I complimented them on their bikes, and they had to show us their tricks. One kid took a photo of Loogieman giving the finger to the flag. I invited him to take a photo of the much more appropriate flag display at the back of my truck, which he did. I hope the latter made it to the internet instead of the former.

They left after a few minutes, with an invitation from me to come back anytime and chat.

Foot traffic was sparse, although we received a couple of compliments for being dedicated and out in that kind of weather. Vehicular traffic was moderate, with about 4 or 5 negatives, and, of course, many more positives.”


Saturday, February 6, 2016:  Quiet day. Cool and overcast.
Throughout the afternoon, there was a continual stream of college aged kids who came up and asked to take a picture with a flag. Eventually, the Flaggers found out that it was part of a scavenger hunt…where part of the list included “taking a photo with the people who carry Confederate Flags in front of the VMFA”. ? How cool is that?!?!?!  🙂

Tuesday, February 9th:  Flagging went to the dogs on this day…in a good way!  Pets are always a great ice breaker, and despite the cold weather, our canine flaggers helped initiate conversations and break the ice with museum visitors, residents, and tourists…


?

?
And finally, the report from this afternoon, Thursday, February 18th.  Although a sudden drop in temperatures and a brisk wind meant a cold evening for our Flaggers, they reported one of the best days on the Boulevard this year.  They reported lots of folks out and about and several good conversations including this one…


?

“A young black couple came out of the VMFA. They walked over and wanted us to know that they knew the flag wasn’t about hate and asked what our mission at the VMFA was.  We gave them detailed information about the history of the Old Soldiers Home and the Confederate Memorial Chapel and the forced removal of the flags.  We told them that we had been out here twice a week for over for years and they told us they admired our determination.  The gentleman went on to say that he believed that knowledge is power and that we had just given him a lot knowledge.   He said he tries to tell his friends that the flag is not their enemy, but they don’t listen.  They told us they were glad they  stopped and asked if we ever got harassed by haters.  Almost as if on cue, a carload of kids went by, screaming obscenities, giving the middle-finger salute, and a final shout of “black power” as they drove by…only the passengers in the car were all white.  The couple were dumbfounded, and we all enjoyed a good laugh at the irony.  The couple said they appreciated the great chat and would stop and talk to us again the next time we were out.”

That was just the start of the great day, where positive honks, shouts of support and thanks, and thumbs up GREATLY outnumbered the negative!  By the time the evening was out, almost a dozen Flaggers lined the sidewalk, and all reported a fantastic afternoon in the Capital of the Confederacy.

Join us THIS Saturday, February 20th , 9:00 a.m. – NOON, and next Thursday, 3:00 p.m – DUSK, and be a part of those forwarding the colors and taking a stand against those who have dishonored our ancestors.

*****************************************************

??This Saturday, February 20th Susan will travel to Chesapeake to attend two events…

 
She’ll start the day speaking at the February (breakfast!) meeting of the 13th Virginia Mechanized Cavalry Camp #9, SCV, 9:00 a.m., Dennis Spaghetti & Steak House, 3356 Western Branch Blvd, Chesapeake, VA


?
For more information, contact Mike Armistead armistead13@yahoo.com.

 
That evening, she’ll join the Stonewall Camp #380 for their (rescheduled) annual Lee-Jackson Banquet. 6:00 p.m. Lillian’s Restaurant, 1312 George Washington Hwy N, Chesapeake, VA.



For more information, contact John Sharrett  sharrett1728@gmail.com

RETURN the flags!
RESTORE the honor!

VA Flaggers