RICHMOND, Va (WRC) – More than 100 people came out for a Confederate heritage rally at the State Capitol Saturday afternoon. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Virginia Flaggers and residents came out to support.
“Our history cannot be removed no matter how many license plates this governor removes from our streets, and no matter how many monuments are removed from our cities and towns,” said Fred Taylor, a supporter and local lawyer who spoke at the rally.
Many people help up signs and portraits to remember those who fought for the south.
“Most of us, not all of us, had ancestors who fought and died in the Confederacy service, and so we are honoring our ancestors,” said Barry Isenhour, with the Virginia Flaggers.
“These men were honorable men. They took part in a legal institution of slavery, but so did the Northern generals. So I don’t want to hear that I can’t fly my battle flag but I can see the US flag where there was slavery for many years before the Confederate flag ever flew,” said Karen Cooper with the Virginia Flaggers.
The group also had a message to Governor McAuliffe, who recently announced plans to phase out the Confederate battle flag on Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates in the Commonwealth.
“Today’s battle is not on the battle field or in shouldering our muskets as our ancestors did 150 years ago. But rather this battle takes place in the court of public opinion. It takes place on that hill right there. It takes place in our legislatures,” said Taylor.
“Once you start going that slippery slope, please tell me what Virginia license plate doesn’t offend somebody,” said Taylor.
But many believe removing the flag would be a step forward.
“That flag has no place on government property period,” said Marty Jewell, the education chairman at the NAACP Richmond Branch.
Jewell says the flag is offensive, and represents a dark period in our history.
“They can continue to worship a lie, and the lies that have been stored for 150 years and more,” he said.