Attorney and UDC Chapter President Mrs. Deborah Mullins reports that she spoke with Lance Mallamo, Director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, and with James Hartman, the City Manager, following their unilateral decision not to the fly the First National Flag of the Confederacy in commemoration of Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
Interestingly enough, both deny that they were contacted by our friends on 15th St. NW. Hartman claims the breach of the 30 year agreement to fly the First National Confederate Flag on or near Lee’s birthday was out of deference to the first African-American President.
Mr. Mallamo admits that he was called to City Hall to discuss the problem with what he PRESUMED was the Battle Flag, but when he saw the flags, he pronounced them (correctly) the “Stars and Bars” (i.e. First National Flag). Apparently much time was spent trying to locate the 30+year old agreement with the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter which dates to 1970, and has been updated a couple of times.
Both were located, but despite their contents, the City Manager summarily suspended flying the flags for Robert E. Lee’s birthday in 2009. He does say that the flags will be flown on May 24 (?) and on Robert E. Lee’s Birthday next year in 2010.
We’ll be checking in 2010 to see if that happens.
The positive aspect is that Mr. Mallamo appears to at least be interested in the area’s history and/or willing to learn more. He has by now realized that he is in a city with a strong Confederate heritage, where sentiments still run very strong, and its ladies are not afraid to stress it.
The sad thing is that Pres.Barack H. Obama ran on a platform and campaign of bipartisanship and inclusivity. Yet one section of town was totally excluded.
It would be nice if those to whom so-called “political correctness” is an ongoing mantra would revert to a far older concept — the Golden Rule.