- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Virginia Flaggers, a group that seeks to honor the Confederate legacy of the South, has hoisted a massive, 20-by-30-foot battle flag along a portion of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, about 50 miles south of the nation’s capital.

This is the second such flag the group’s raised along the same highway. Last year, 24,000 signed a petition to complain that the presence of the Confederate flag is offensive and promotes slavery and racism, Reuters reported.

The same complaints surfaced this year, but the group said it only wants to recognize the heritage of the Confederacy, Reuters reported.

“We have no problems with people who have different points of view, but we also want them to respect our views,” said Flaggers spokesman Barry Isenhour.

Richmond, located about 60 miles south of where the flag’s been raised, was the capital of the Confederacy. But it was also a bustling market area for the slave trade — and is now home to a majority black population.

“For a lot of Virginians and a lot of Americans, [the flag] has a negative connotation,” Jennifer McClellan, co-chair of the state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, told Reuters. “It has been used by hate groups to promote their beliefs in white supremacy.”

Mr. Isenhour said the new flag is aimed at honoring the 250,000 or so Confederate soldiers who fought Fredericksburg-area battles. It’s been hoisted on private property.