- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2001

Southern history is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, according to a Confederate heritage group that vowed yesterday to fight discrimination against those who honor the Souths heritage.
"Were drawing a line in the sand and saying were not going to take it anymore," said Henry Kidd, commander of the Virginia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) at a rally held in Richmond yesterday.
Mr. Kidd and others in the group said they were upset with how Confederate history has been relegated to the "trash heap." Yesterday, the Virginia division of the SCV, along with other Confederate groups, held rallies and protests across the country to show their outrage.
"We dont appreciate people discriminating against us or taking values that have changed from 150 years ago and applying them to today," said Patrick J. Griffin III of Darnestown, Md. Mr. Griffin is the immediate past commander in chief of the international 30,000-member group.
Leaders of the groups say there has been a dramatic shift in attitudes toward Southern heritage.
In Virginia, Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican, drew the groups ire when he changed "Confederate History Month" to a more generic proclamation that doesnt focus on the Confederacy.
"The governor, as he said back when he issued the proclamation, is interested in honoring Virginians who fought on both sides of the war," Gilmore spokesman Reed Boatright said. "Its time to move forward."
Mr. Griffin said Virginia has buckled to pressure while forgetting its own history.
"Virginia has a very deep and proud heritage and to try and downplay any part of it just doesnt serve the people of Virginia well at all," Mr. Griffin said.
Brag Bowling, a commander in the Virginia SCV division, said there "has been a virtual news blackout" of Confederate history, while attacks on his and others Confederate roots continue.
He cited the actions of town officials in West Point, Va., who have banned the placement of Confederate battle flags in the towns municipal graveyard. Mr. Bowling said the group will file suit if the policy is not reversed.
In Richmond, the Confederate capital, the group has sued over Virginias refusal to issue SCV license plates, which are available in Maryland. The case is on appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In neighboring West Virginia, there were protests in Berkeley over the states refusal to create an SCV license plate.
In Tallahassee, Fla., about 40 gray-clad protesters marched on the Governors Mansion, sang "Dixie" loudly and urged Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, to restore the Rebel banner that was removed from the Capitol earlier this year.
"Its a flag of honor, part of our history and heritage, not any kind of symbol of hate or divisiveness," said Bob Hurst, wearing the gray Confederate uniform.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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