In an effort to “Save Lee Park,” the Virginia Flaggers hosted an April 18 rally in front of the park’s General Robert E. Lee monument to advocate for keeping the historic statue in place, after the group made their opposition to removing it known at a rally last month, which was hosted by Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy, who hopes to remove or replace it.
Statue supporters held signs that said “Confederate Heroes Matter” and “Hands Off Our Monument,” and Berry Eisenhower, who began the rally with a prayer, said his plea is for the opposition to, “Respect our history. Respect our heritage. Respect Virginia’s veterans.”
A young boy handed out fliers asking for land suitable for a Confederate flag memorial in or near Charlottesville.
The flaggers are from Sandston, about an hour away, and allege that they’ve been called “outsiders” by City Council. Susan Hathaway, who emceed the rally, said some councilors aren’t from Virginia. “They are the outsiders, not us.”
A woman walked by the park chanting “black lives matter,” and some rally goers laughed and waved her away while Buck Rexrode said, “Yes they do.”
Rexrode, a member of the Virginia militia, said, “They’re trying to take down something that means a whole lot to me,” and Hathaway said taking down the “magnificent memorial” would be “tyrannical and illegal.”
The flaggers will rally in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, and Hathaway, who at the rally said, “There are still those of us with Confederate blood coursing through our veins,” has asked the flaggers for no “Confederate presence” in D.C., instead asking the group to bring tokens of support for the military.