Confederate flag burial sparks debate

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) While some people are celebrating the historic symbolism of the confederate flag this Memorial Day, others are putting it the ground. To mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, activists in Richmond held a funeral for the confederate flag, burying an icon they call a source of trauma.

The flag burial is part of a conceptual art project that includes plans to bury and in some cases burn confederate flags in 13 southern states. Coordinators in Richmond decided to bury, rather than burn the flag, lying to rest a symbol that reminds many of a painful history.

“It’s controversial because people have different opinions about the flag,” said community activist Evandra Catherine. “I understand that in its inception, it was about the states’ rights, but then it did become as symbol of terror and racism in the black community.”

Groups like Sons of Confederate Veterans have called the events disrespectful and divisive.

Bill Wray, a member of the group, said his ties to the Confederate flag are personal. “I think about my great grandfather, and all he went through,” Wray said. “He was captured in Petersburg and held as a prisoner for 60 days. You have to really believe in your cause, which was freedom of the states.”

As opinions continue to differ, the organizers of Richmond’s flag burial say they hope the event will make people pause to think about the symbols on their cars, clothes and front yards.

“It’s not to say what you believe is incorrect,” Catherine said, “But as a city and a state, in order to grow, we need to have a better understanding of how things can affect multiple groups of people.”

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