- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The NAACP has come forward in staunch opposition and anger about a heritage group’s plans to fly a 10-by-15-foot Confederate flag on a 50-foot pole south of Richmond, Va. — large enough to be seen from the corridor’s main highway, Interstate 95.

The Virginia Flaggers say it’s to show respect for those on the South’s side who fought and died during the Civil War, The Associated Press reported. And the Richmond area was chosen for a historical reason: The city served as the Confederate capital during the war.

The group estimates it will fly on Sept. 28, give or take a few days, and only be visible from I-95 northbound lanes, AP Press reported.

But the NAACP sees differently. Virginia chapter executive director King Salim Khalfani told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the flag would show Richmond as a “backwater, trailer park, hick town.”

Mr. Khalfani also said those say the flag is only supposed to honor the soldiers who served the Confederacy with honor are outright crazy.

“If [those soldiers] had been successful, I’d still be in chains,” he said, AP reported. The flag is “an embarrassment” and will only dampen tourism in the area, he said.

But a spokeswoman for Virginia Flaggers disagreed and said the state’s already cut out all evidence of Confederate history from the events surrounding the Civil War sesquicentennial.

“This [flag] will tell people that everyone is welcome,” said the group founder, Susan Hathaway, in the AP report. “Why do we have to be a place where Southerners who are proud of our heritage are not welcome?”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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