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Confederate flag rises above Louisa along I-64, prompts local officials to check compliance regulations

Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 4:41 am

A 30-by-50-foot Confederate flag on a 120-foot pole was installed on March 31 on the Louisa County-Albemarle County line. Local officials won’t say yet whether the flag is legal. Photo by Judy Smith

Louisa County officials said this week they are checking whether a large Confederate flag hoisted above Interstate 64 is in compliance with local regulations.

The 30-by-50-foot flag was raised on Saturday on a 120-foot pole just north of the highway’s eastbound lanes, close to mile marker 133 and the Albemarle County line. It was installed by the Virginia Flaggers, a group responsible for similar flags on major roads elsewhere in the state.

County Administrator Christian Goodwin said Monday he could not confirm whether the flag and pole comply with local building and zoning codes, or whether the group had contacted the county. Troy Wade, Louisa County Board of Supervisors chairman, declined to comment.

The Virginia Flaggers said in a statement the flag was planned after the city of Charlottesville began efforts to remove statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson from public parks. The flag is called the “Charlottesville I-64 Spirit of Defiance Memorial Battle Flag.”

Barry Isenhour, Virginia Flaggers spokesman, said the group erected the flag in response to an offer from the property owner. He said that while the flag site is a considerable distance away from Charlottesville, his group is considering other sites in or close to the city for future projects.

Isenhour said that as Flaggers representatives and the owner were walking on the property, they discovered the grave site of Richard Willis Proffitt. The group learned later that he was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War, Isenhour said, though they are still researching the details of his story.

He said he is not worried about people who find the Confederate flag offensive.

“It’s a free country. We still have the First Amendment, thank God,” he said. “The Confederates were honorable people trying to protect the Constitution as they saw it. So we are pushing back on people who want us to tear down history.”

Tammy Purcell, a member of the Indivisible Louisa group, told the Louisa County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Monday she does consider the new flag offensive, and urged them to do something about it.


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