Mile Marker 134 on busy Interstate 95 in Virginia is the new battleground in the war over the Confederate flag.
A Southern Cross measuring 30 feet by 22 feet is flying high above that spot on private property. The group Virginia Flaggers says on its website that it raised the flag on an 82-foot flag pole on May 31 in a small, private ceremony that included a Confederate Color Guard and rifle salute.
The group says that spot was chosen to honor the 246,000 Confederate soldiers who fought in separate battles in the Fredericksburg vicinity during the Civil War. It believes the flag represents pride, not racism.
The group’s Barry Isenhour told the Washington Post Friday that he doesn’t think of the flag as a symbol of a fight to preserve the institution of slavery, in part because he believes the war was a defense against Northern aggression.
But Aston Haughton, president of the NAACP chapter in Virginia’s Stafford County, told the Post he saw it differently. He said the flag “symbolizes racism, oppression. It reminds people of the days of slavery.”
Stafford County spokeswoman Cathy Vollbrecht said her office received complaints and inquiries from citizens after the flag raising, but that the flag will stay.
“After careful review we determined that no laws have been violated,” she told the newspaper.