HIGGINSVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A decade after Missouri’s governor ordered the Confederate battle flag removed from two state historic sites, a group whose ancestors were Confederate soldiers wants the banner to fly full time again.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans is boosting its efforts to fly the rebel flag over the cemetery at the Confederate Memorial Historic Site in Higginsville by reaching out to state lawmakers from the area, The Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1lcqaHl ) reported.
Darrell Maples, the group’s state commander, said he and a few other members met with three state representatives at the cemetery this weekend to tell them about the organization and explain why they want the flag to fly over the graves of deceased Confederate soldiers.
“They are Confederate veterans,” Maples of those buried in the cemetery. “They are representatives of all 13 Confederate states. They fought under that flag, and we think it should be put back up in honor of that.”
Maples and others met Saturday morning with Republican state Reps. Glen Kolkmeyer and Warren Love, both Odessa Republicans, and John Mayfield, an Independence Democrat.
“They wanted to know if we’d be willing to sit down, which we were, and so we listened to what they had to say,” said Kolkmeyer, whose district includes Higginsville.
In January 2003, Democratic Gov. Bob Holden’s administration ordered the rebel flag to come down from the Higginsville site and the Fort Davidson State Historic Site in Pilot Knob. That order came after Missouri Democrat Dick Gephardt, while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said the battle flag should not be flown anywhere.
Two years later Republican Gov. Matt Blunt ordered the flag to fly on Confederate Memorial Day on June 7 and said he would support a review of whether the flag should fly regularly. There has been little discussion of the issue since then.
Maples said he and other members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans pooled their resources and used some money from the organization to put up a billboard near the Higginsville exit on westbound Interstate 70.
“We’d like to see it return permanently because you would really, really have to want to go see this place to actually see it,” Maples said. “It’s really off the beaten path.”
A spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, when asked if the governor would consider approving the flag to be flown again, said Nixon sees no reason to depart from current practice.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com
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